I know I might be pushing it by posting a turkey leftovers recipe a full three days after Thanksgiving. I imagine many of you transformed your turkey bones into stock, however, and that you still have some meat you’d like to use in a new and different way…at least I hope so.

red curry with turkey

Before I get to the Red Curry recipe, though, I just want to mention that two years ago almost to the day, I submitted this recipe for Turkey Pho to food52. The recipe, which I’d adapted from this chicken one that I learned from Jaden, won their contest for “Best Turkey Leftovers”, and I am so thrilled that it’s now printed in their book: The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks. What’s more, I was floored to see that Gwyneth Paltrow featured the recipe in her Goop newsletter earlier this week (scroll down toward the bottom of the page to find it). Woot! I love that pho recipe, and I love that it’s been so well-received by so many other people.

The thing is, I didn’t used to think too far beyond turkey sandwiches when it came to how to use my Thanksgiving leftovers. Once I’d downed a couple of tasty sandwiches, I was pretty much done: done with turkey until the following Thanksgiving when my appetite for a few meals featuring the bird would return.

When I started recycling my turkey bones into stock, however, things began to change. Because when you have stock, you have so many options: there are so many soups and stews you can create.

Do you make your own stock? It’s just about the easiest thing in the world to do (if you’re interested in how I make mine, you can find my basic method for poultry stock here). Honestly, though, if all you did was throw your turkey bones into a big stock pot (I use one like this) with some veggie scraps (like carrot, celery, and onion) and enough water to cover everything, you’d end up with a great deal of delicious stock after you let everything simmer away for awhile. I personally get my stock going right after our Thanksgiving meal is finished. I let everything cook overnight covered over a low simmer on the stove, then strain and let it cool the next morning. Then I pour all the stock into quart containers for storage in the refrigerator and freezer.

I was incredibly pleased when packing up the containers of nutrient-rich, golden stock I made from the bones of my turkey the other day. I mean, not only did we get to enjoy an excellent Thanksgiving meal featuring grass-fed turkey from a nearby farm, but now I’ve got enough stock on hand to use for soups, stews, and sauces over the next month or two. Organic chicken stock costs about $3 a quart, I think, so I figure not only did I re-purpose a significant part of my meal, I saved a nice chunk of change, too. And there’s no packaging to dispose of either: I store my stock in reusable containers.

This kind of thrift has been on my mind a great deal lately: I’ve been reading a book by Tamar Adler called An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, and I really cannot recommend it enough. Tamar is one of those rare cooks who also happens to be an incredible writer, and the book is like a love letter not just to preparing nourishing meals at home, but to doing so in a balanced and resourceful manner. If you want a taste of the way Tamar writes, please read this piece she recently wrote for The New York Times. Then get her book…you will love it, and it might just change the way you cook for the better.

Ok time to talk about this Red Curry with Turkey. Dare I say I might have liked this even more than the turkey pho? As with the pho recipe, I was looking for a creative way to use my freshly made turkey stock, as well as some of the leftover meat from Thanksgiving. I was craving something rich but still healthy, and with some cocoonut milk and red curry paste on hand, this Thai stew seemed like an obvious and delicious path to head down.

Please don’t think you can’t make this if you don’t have turkey stock or turkey, though: it will work equally well with chicken stock and leftover roast chicken. I think fish or seafood would be delicious in here, too.

Don’t eat meat or fish? Keep it vegan by using vegetable stock and additional vegetables, and substitute tamari for the fish sauce; tofu or tempeh could be added for protein, if you like. Some other substitutions to think about: any winter squash or pumpkin can be used in lieu of the sweet potato, and any chopped dark greens could take the place of the baby bok choy.

red curry Thai

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This post is linked to Sunday Night Soup Night.


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  1. 1

    Dara — November 28, 2011 @ 9:27 am

    What a great recipe for leftover turkey! Beautiful photos as well. Great job.

  2. 2

    Winnie — November 28, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    Thanks Dara!

  3. 3

    Nicola @ unhip squirrel — November 28, 2011 @ 10:08 am

    Looks awesome. I love sweet potatoes and I’m beginning to see them in more and more recipes these days, much different from the traditional mashed sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar and pecan Thanksgiving type deal (which is also great – but so is being different!). Thanks for sharing this. I see I’ll have to begin tracking down lime leaves. :)

  4. 4

    LiztheChef — November 28, 2011 @ 10:33 am

    I, too, made turkey stock – a ton of it – even though the temperature hit 82 here yesterday. My freezer is full and there will be turkey soup tonight when it cools down…Your pho really got the well-deserved spotlight over the holiday!

  5. 5

    Kathryn O — November 28, 2011 @ 10:42 am

    This looks incredible! I don’t have any leftover turkey, but I am bookmarking this for the next time I make roast chicken. And congratulations on all the well-deserved recognition you’ve been getting! Sounds like I need to try that Turkey Pho!!! :)

  6. 6

    modernworkinggirl — November 28, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    Bok choi – so delicious! They call it Pak Choi here in England :)

  7. 7

    Katherine Martinelli — November 28, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    I was so excited to see your recipe in GOOP! And can’t wait to get my hands on the food52 cookbook. This red curry looks just as amazing. Such a creative use for leftovers! I have a pot of homemade chicken stock in the fridge that I just made last night! Can’t wait to give this a try.

  8. 8

    Laura @ GFPantry — November 28, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

    Oh this looks incredible! I love bok choy and sweet potato-great combination!

  9. 9

    Lynda - TasteFood — November 29, 2011 @ 9:25 am

    I am a huge fan of red curry. This looks wonderful. And congratulations on your mention in Goop!

  10. 10

    Hannah — November 29, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

    This looks terrific and includes so many flavors I love – wish I had a bowl of it for lunch today. I was so happy to see your pho recipe spotlighted in Goop! Yay!

  11. 11

    Debbie @ Easy Natural Food — November 30, 2011 @ 12:56 am

    Wow, this looks really really good! I love Thai flavors so this is right up my alley! Also thanks for the tip about the book – it sounds like a great read. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with Sunday Night Soup Night. I’ll be hosting weekly through fall and winter, so I’d love to see you again with your next soup/stock/chowder recipe!

  12. 12

    Cooking Rookie — November 30, 2011 @ 2:48 am

    Wow, this curry must be delicious! And how gorgeous the photos are – love that blue background for the red curry!

  13. 13

    Sophie — December 1, 2011 @ 7:29 am

    Now, this is one statisfying & lovely meal!

    It contains all of the flavours that I love! MMMMMMM,… a real delight!

  14. 14

    Monet — December 3, 2011 @ 12:25 pm

    I don’t mind the extra turkey recipes…in fact, I’d take them year round! I love turkey and this red curry is so unusual! Thank you so much for sharing with me. I’m hungry now. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  15. 15

    amy@currylime — December 6, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

    Love love LOVE an excellent curry! Many thanks for the recipe!!

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