When my P.S. (Pantry Stocker /hubby) brought home turkey legs again recently, I was in a lazy mood. I’d worked all week due to a co-worker’s vacation schedule so I didn’t have a lot of time to roast stuff and prepare dinner dishes. I finally put the turkey legs into a foil covered pan and roasted them for 2 ½ hours one evening. My house smelled wonderful all night!
I woke up the next morning having dreamt of Thanksgiving and all of the tasty dishes we usually make for the holiday. Sadly enough, all I had of that feast was turkey and broth in my fridge, reminding me I still needed to put a meal or meals together with those ingredients.
The previous night, after the drumsticks were done, I’d let them cool for about 30 minutes, then removed the meat from the bones. It almost fell off, and the meat was still tender and moist. I put the meat in a container and put it in the fridge, then took all of the rest of the bones and bits and put them into my soup pot and added about 2 quarts of water.
I let the pot come to a boil, then turned it down to medium low and let it bubble away for about 2 hours. I checked it at one point and the water level was down so low I had to add several cups of water to let it simmer awhile longer. After two hours I strained the broth off, discarded the rest, and had about 4 cups of broth. I covered it and refrigerated that as well.
The next day, I skimmed off the fat and used ½ cup of the broth for my salad recipe. I refrigerated the rest in a container.
I cheated and called my P.S. who is home hours before me each day and asked him to peel and grill two sweet potatoes. He informed me we had none in the house, to which I replied “Buy some, please? And oh, also a bag of spinach. I’ll make a salad”. I think he was happiest hearing the “I’ll make” part. But he is the resident grill guy; I don’t even know how to start that thing.
When I got home that evening P.S. had the potatoes grilled, diced and at room temp. Perfect! I pulled the rest of the ingredients out of the fridge and started the dressing. Using a skillet, I drizzled a little olive oil and sautéed some mild onions. Then I poured in the broth and the rest of the dressing ingredients and let it bubble and reduce and thicken a bit.
While that reduced I layered the spinach, diced turkey, and sweet potatoes into a flat dish for each serving. I poured the dressing over each dish then sprinkled it with pecans I’d thrown in a small skillet and toasted while I was waiting. It smelled and looked so inviting! I’m a sucker for a spinach salad with warm dressing, but have usually eaten them with bacon. This was going to be interesting!
Interesting is what it was! It was like a salad and a Thanksgiving meal had a collision and the ingredients melded together and decided to stay married. It was great! I liked the dressing flavors on the turkey and sweet potatoes, and the spinach was a green bonus. If I’d been blindfolded it would have been difficult to say what I thought the dish should be called. “Thanksgiving + Salad”, maybe?
All I can say is I have to try to remember this dish next Thanksgiving when I have leftovers. All I’d need is to have spinach on hand and make the quick dressing. Ta da! As for the rest of the turkey and broth from my evening of roasting and broth making, they’re on the menu for tomorrow. Stay tuned!
Warm Turkey Spinach Salad with Sweet Potatoes
8 cups baby spinach
½ cup leftover turkey; diced
1 cup sweet potatoes; roasted and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot; sliced
¼ cup chicken broth (I used some homemade turkey broth- see below)
2 tablespoons vinegar, sherry, balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon mustard
2 tablespoons walnuts; toasted (I used pecans)
Salt, pepper; to taste
The previous day: roast turkey drumsticks in foil covered pan in 325° oven for 2 ½ hours. Let cool 30 minutes then remove meat from bones and refrigerate.
Put anything that isn’t meat into a large soup pot and add 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer at medium low for 2 hours. Check every 30 minutes for water level and add more if necessary. Strain broth and discard bones. Refrigerate until solid and skim fat off the top. This makes 3-4 cups, you will have leftover broth to use or freeze.
Peel and wrap 2 sweet potatoes in foil. Grill until tender. Or, peel and dice and roast on foil covered pan in 350° oven until tender. Cool.
Cook shallot in olive oil 2-3 minutes until softened. Add broth and mustard, cooking until it thickens. Salt and pepper to taste.
In individual flat soup bowls, layer spinach, sweet potatoes and turkey. Pour half of the dressing over the top and sprinkle with toasted nuts. Enjoy!