A very quick and creamy leftover turkey risotto recipe using the rests from your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
What to do with leftover turkey?
A question that lots and lots of people ask themselves either after Thanksgiving or Christmas. You cook a whole turkey, feed a crowd with it, and still have enough leftovers to last for a week…
Even if you don’t cook a whole turkey, you will probably still have enough leftovers to make at least another meal with them. Most of the time I go for soups, salads, or our favorite leftover turkey fricassee, but a risotto with leftover turkey meat is a great choice as well.
How long to store leftover meat in the fridge or freezer?
- To make all these delicious dishes, you will need to properly store the leftover turkey meat. If you plan to use it during the next days, the fridge is the best option, you will not have to freeze the rest.
- It will keep in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. To ensure that it is still safe after storing it in the fridge, make sure you refrigerate the leftovers within 2 hours after finishing cooking it.
- Cut the leftovers into smaller parts, remove the bones (and freeze them immediately in order to make turkey stock at a later time), and slice or shred the remaining meat. Store it in airtight containers and make sure to use it during the next 2 to 4 days.
- To freeze the meat, I keep the breast meat and the leg meat separately and pack them in airtight containers.
- I make sure that I have between 250 g/ 8.8 oz and 500 g/ 1.1 lbs in each container (between 2 and 4 cups of chopped meat), it is about as much as I usually need to cook a leftover turkey recipe.
Ingredients for risotto
Leftover turkey meat:
- You can cook this dish with leftover chicken as well, from a roast chicken, for instance.
- I used about 300 g/ 10.6 oz/ about 1 ½ cups leftover meat, but if you have a little more or a little less, it will be perfectly fine.
- I had leftover meat from some turkey legs this time, but I have cooked the risotto with breast meat as well. However, I prefer legs, breast meat is a bit dryer and I prefer to cook that in a fricassee or soup where there are much more sauce or liquid involved.
Bacon or ham:
- Especially the bacon cubes give the risotto a particularly good flavor.
- Homemade chicken or turkey stock, but if you don’t have it, do use your favorite chicken stock brand.
- If using stock made from a cube, make sure the liquid is not too salty. If so, add a little more water, and be cautious with the seasoning once the risotto is ready.
How to make?
- Making risotto is easy. The fact that most recipes tell you that it has to be stirred continuously for about 20-25 minutes puts many people off from ever cooking it.
- Stirring the risotto a lot is definitely mandatory, but to tell you the truth, I have only stood by the pot and stirred continuously only the first couple of times I’ve made risotto.
- We absolutely love risotto in this house, but I’ve noticed that the continuously stirring task, did keep me from cooking it as often as I had wished, so I gave up the continuous stirring thing pretty quickly. I do stir a lot (more than I stir any other dish), but to say that I do so continuously would be a lie.
- I stand by the stove, do other stuff nearby, and stir often, that’s it! And nobody has ever noticed any difference between the “continuously stirred” risotto and the “often stirred” risotto. You might have that expectation if you happen to order risotto in a restaurant, but you will find that home-cooked risotto is fine when it is only often stirred.
- Otherwise, I used a mixture of egg yolk and Parmesan to bind and make the risotto extra creamy. I found the idea in a cookbook (Diana Henry’s Plenty – Amazon affiliate link) and I thought I might just give a try, it was totally new to me.
- I love it, the risotto was indeed super smooth and creamy, absolutely lovely.
Step by step:
- Start by heating the stock you are using. I measure it and pour it into a jug saucepan. I heat that up and leave it on the lowest heat during the entire cooking time.
- Finely chop the onion and cook it in a mixture of olive oil and butter. When it turns glossy, add the rice and turn it around in the pan to coat it in fat. Keep stirring it for a few more minutes until it becomes translucent.
- Add the white wine and let it reduce completely. Slowly, start adding the hot stock, one ladle at a time, stirring often and only adding the next ladle of stock when all the liquid in the pot has been absorbed.
- Keep doing this, stirring often, until all the stock is used and the rice is cooked through, but not mushy, this will take between 20 and 25 minutes.
- In the meantime chop the meat. Add during the last 10 minutes of the cooking time to make sure it is thoroughly heated through.
- Mix the egg yolk with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese, full-fat milk or heavy cream, and seasoning.
- Take the pot off the heat and stir in the egg mixture. Add the remaining butter and more seasoning if necessary.
- Leave to stand for 5 minutes and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley, more Parmesan, and a green salad on the side. A glass of white wine would be great as well.
More leftover turkey recipes:
Turkey Lasagna – a healthier, lighter lasagna with cream cheese and cottage cheese, perfect to feed a crowd.
Vegetable Strudel with Turkey – you can cook another festive meal using leftover turkey.
Leftover Turkey Casserole – a comforting turkey pasta bake, a perfect meal for children.
Turkey Fricassee – our favorite way of using leftover turkey, this quick fricassee is creamy and comforting.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Leftover Turkey Risotto
- 1.3 liters/ 2.7 pints/ 5 ½ cups chicken or turkey stock
- 2 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz pancetta or bacon cubes
- 300 g/ 10.6 oz/ 2 ½ cups risotto rice
- 125 ml/ 4.2 oz/ ½ cup dry white wine
- 300 g/ 10.6 oz/ 1 ½ cups leftover turkey meat or leftover chicken
- 1 egg yolk
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
- 4 tablespoons full-fat milk or heavy cream
- fine sea salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley fresh or frozen
- Pour the chicken (or turkey) stock into a jug saucepan. Heat it up and leave it on the lowest heat during the entire time you cook the risotto.
- Finely chop the onion. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and the olive oil in a wide heavy bottomed or non-stick pan. Cook the onion and the pancetta or bacon until the onion turns glossy, add the risotto and turn it around in the pan to coat it in fat. Keep stirring it for about 2-3 minutes until it becomes translucent.
- Add the white wine and let it reduce completely.
- Slowly, start adding the hot stock, one ladle at a time, stirring often and only adding the next ladle of stock when all the liquid in the pot has been absorbed. Keep doing this, stirring often, until all the stock is used and the risotto is cooked through but not mushy, this will take between 20 and 25 minutes. If necessary, add a little more stock or hot water.
- In the meantime chop the leftover turkey meat. Add it to the risotto during the last 10 minutes of the cooking time to make sure it is thoroughly heated through by the end of the cooking time.
- Mix the beaten egg yolk with the freshly grated Parmesan, full-fat milk or heavy cream and seasoning. Take the risotto off the heat and stir in the egg mixture.
- Add the remaining butter and more seasoning if necessary. Leave to stand for 5 minutes and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley, more Parmesan and a green salad on the side.