A week ago Monday my brother-in-law helped us out when we catered the Christmas volunteer dinner for one of our cherished local charities. On that evening we all enjoyed our fill of turkey with all the trimmings and then we sent all our family who helped us with the dinner, home with left overs. We put our own left overs in the freezer so that we cold serve another special Christmas dinner to our “Young Families” group that we host at our home once a month. On Saturday we were on the way out to our little beach house because the weather was so balmy. We asked my brother-in-law and Sister #2 over to share the left overs of our leftovers.
Sister #2 suggested that we switch things up in a couple of ways: we go to their place instead – we affectionately have dubbed their place “Reshmajal” as it will be absolutely splendid when construction is complete. In the meanwhile their “unfinished” abode is far more splendid than ours. “Splendid” when compared to bare-bones simplicity means that the furnace was temperature programmed as opposed to us needing to continuously stoke the fire in our wood-stove and we got to use one of the two inside bathrooms instead of our outdoor biffy (even on a warm weekend that toilet seat was mighty chilly!)
In addition, she asked permission to repurpose the turkey into a long-loved family recipe: turkey croquettes. Sister #2 was lovingly instructed how to fashion this recipe by her Mother-in-law who was Italian and married to a gentleman (still ticking and over 90) of German descent. When I asked them both where the recipe originated, neither could say for sure but suspected that it was through the German influence. Wikipedia suggests though that the origin of croquettes is actually French.
As is often the case with family recipes passed along through generations, it is less of a “recipe” than a process or method. So, here’s what you do: take leftover turkey (or ham) and cut super finely to a minced texture. Prepare a thick béchamel sauce of butter, white flour (this took some effort as neither Sister #2 or I keep white flour in the house) and milk. Mix the béchamel paste with the turkey and then form the mixture into sausage-like tubes. Next the sausages are dipped into an egg wash and rolled in bread crumbs. Lastly, they are fried in olive until crispy and golden brown.
I love the recipes of generations past as they ensure that no food is ever wasted, a concern that I maintain on a daily basis. Besides, the results are so delicious! On Sunday evening we took a batch of Hamburger Soup and cheese buns over to Beep’s to share as a family, but the piece de resistance was the leftover turkey croquettes.
Kath’s quote: “Rational habits permit of discarding nothing left over, and the use to which leftovers (and their economic allies, the wild things of nature) are put is often at the heart of a cooking’s character.”-Richard Olney
Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.