So you bought the big bird. Once Thanksgiving has passed, you can reap the bounty of any turkey leftovers lingering in your refrigerator. Of course, there's the reliable soup and the go-to sandwich, but after all the holiday hoopla, a diversion from the traditional flavors of your turkey dinner may be welcome.
It's time to depart New England and head to the South for inspiration.
Jambalaya is a Cajun- and Creole-inspired one-pot rice dish. It's studded with a combination of meat, such as chicken and smoked andouille sausage, and often includes seafood, such as shrimp. The "holy trinity" of onion, green pepper, and celery creates the aromatic base for the dish, and—in the case of Creole-style jambalaya—tomato paints the rice red. In this recipe, you can use your turkey leftovers for the meat. Since the meat has been cooked, simply season it with salt and black pepper. If you don't have any leftover turkey, then cook fresh turkey or chicken meat to make this comforting rice dish. Both methods are included in the recipe.
The key to making this dish is to build flavor in layers. This is achieved by cooking the ingredients in steps, rather than all at once in a massive jumble. Start by cooking the sausage, which will release its flavorful oil in the skillet. Then use that oil to coat and cook the other meat while you stir-fry it. (If using precooked meat, this step is skipped.) Once the meat is cooked through, remove it from the pan to prevent overcooking, and begin cooking the aromatics to build the base of the dish. Add the dry spices and rice to toast briefly and amplify their flavors, then add the tomatoes and stock. A few minutes before the rice is completely cooked, return the meats and any collected juices to the jambalaya to bring the dish together.
Turkey and Sausage JambalayaActive time: 25 to 35 minutes Total time: 45 to 55 minutes
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces andouille sausage, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 1 pound boneless, skinless turkey (or chicken) meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- Chopped Italian parsley leaves for garnish
- Lemon wedges for serving
If using uncooked turkey (or chicken), season the pieces with salt and black pepper. Add to the skillet and cook over medium heat until no longer pink in the center, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the sausages. (If using precooked turkey, lightly season with salt and black pepper and add to the bowl with the cooked sausages. Stir to coat with any residual oils and juices from the sausages. Proceed to the next step.)
If the skillet is dry, add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the onion, green pepper, and celery and saute until the onion is soft without coloring, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, paprika, and thyme and saute until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add the rice and stir to coat and lightly toast the grains, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet and cook until the liquid is nearly absorbed and the rice is almost tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
Nestle the cooked turkey and sausages in the rice and pour in any accumulated juices from the bowl. Partially cover the pan and continue to cook over medium-low heat until all the liquid is absorbed, 5 to 7 minutes more.
Garnish with chopped parsley, and serve with lemon wedges. Serve warm.