Red Curry with Turkey, Sweet Potato, and Baby Bok Choy

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By Winnie Abramson, ND

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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.

red curry Thai
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Turkey in Red Curry with Sweet Potato and Baby Bok Choy

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 2 -4 servings


  • *1 can/15 oz. organic unsweetened coconut milk (I used Native Harvest brand)
  • *2 tablespoons red curry paste I used Thai Kitchen brand
  • *1 large organic sweet potato chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • *1-2 cups turkey or chicken stock preferably homemade
  • *1 tablespoon palm sugar or organic dark brown sugar
  • *2 tablespoons fish sauce I used Thai Kitchen brand
  • *1 cup roast turkey shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • *6 kaffir lime leaves I used dried ones from Kalystyans in NYC
  • *1 red or green chile pepper minced
  • *1 bunch baby bok choy chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • *1/2-1 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Thai basil or a combination of the two
  • *fresh lime juice to taste for serving- optional
  • *sriracha or your favorite hot chile sauce for serving I used my homemade chile garlic sauce- optional


  • 1. Combine coconut milk and red curry paste in a wok or deep saucepan. Stir well to combine, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly, add chopped sweet potato, and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
  • 2. Add 1 cup of stock, palm or brown sugar, fish sauce, turkey, lime leaves, and chile pepper. Stir everything together, then continue to cook over medium heat for another 10 minutes. Test to see if the sweet potato is tender. If it's not, continue to cook until it is.
  • 3. Add baby bok choy and cilantro and/or basil. Stir to combine, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 3-4 more minutes until greens and herbs are wilted.
  • 4. Remove from heat and taste the curry. If it's too thick for you, add another 1/2-1 cup of stock. Allow to cool slightly: serve with a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice and some sriracha or other chile sauce drizzled on top.

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