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Turkey Leftovers Risotto 

Christmas can come twice a year with this rich, alternative route to making good use of your turkey dinner leftovers.

click to enlarge MEGHAN TANSEY-WHITTON
  • Meghan Tansey-Whitton

Serves four

5 cups chicken or turkey broth (turkey stock is best but chicken will do) heated to near-simmer
1 cup white wine or unsweetened grape juice (best if wine)
2 ½ cups short grained high-starch Italian rice (Carnaroli preferred)
1 white large white onion and 3 ribs of celery, finely diced. (This is called the Soffritto, and should at all times be slowly sauteed, without cover, at a low temperature.)
2.5 cups picked turkey meat (half-white and half-dark is best)
100 grams grated Grana Padano cheese
½ loose cup of Italian or flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped
¼ teaspoon of saffron
1 tbsp of butter
100ml olive oil

Heat olive oil to a heavy bottomed cast-iron pan on low temperature. Add Soffritto and cook until translucent. Add rice and saute until well coated in oil and all the grains are glossy. Add white wine and cook until all wine disappears. At this stage add half the amount of saffron and a good pinch of sea salt and cracked pepper.

Begin adding stock a ladle at a time, allowing the liquid to disappear with each application. When the rice is close to your preference add the turkey meat and half the cheese. This usually takes 15 minutes.

At this stage comes the most important process. With your wooden spoon, vigourously stir the risotto for one solid minute. This releases the last little bit of starch hanging on to the rice and is what gives properly made risotto its creaminess without the addition of cream. At the very end add the butter, half the parsley and the remaining saffron. Stir and place in a heated serving bowl. Garnish with the remaining cheese and parsley.

This dish is an awesome break from the traditional turkey leftovers while at the same time utilizing the whole turkey. This becomes a complete winter meal with the addition of a warm Savoy cabbage and bacon salad. Cook chopped bacon in a heavy pan, when crisp add garlic, shaved onion and shredded Savoy cabbage and then balsamic vinegar and some fresh chopped sage. This is also uplifted by adding some chopped hazelnuts.

This dish is really fun for kids in that they can stir it. The colour also has an appeal where as normal risotto may appear slightly drab. My mentor, Wolfgang Guadrian, used to say that saffron tasted like sunshine—after 22 years I have not forgotten this analogy—and for sure a pick-me-up in the depths of winter. —Terry Vassallo, Cafe Chianti

Cafe Chianti
1241 Barrington Street


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