I love turkey dinner for the holidays, with cranberries, sweet potatoes and stuffing. The memories that it conjures up are those of years of holiday dinners shared with the ones that we love. I learned to make roast turkey from my mother and she learned from her mother and so on. We passed down the recipes from generation to generation in hopes of keeping the tradition alive.
The problem is that my children and their spouses are not fans of turkey. They will ask me to make any other type of meat or fish as long as I don’t cook turkey. Somehow their generation is not interested in this particular tradition so for the past few years I cooked something else for Christmas.
In order to feed my need for nostalgia, I invited my brothers and my sister and their spouses to dinner on Boxing Day so I would have an excuse to roast a turkey. I made a 22 lb. roasted turkey that would make Martha Stewart proud. My siblings brought the appetizers, salad, and vegetable sides and together we created a festive feast for the eyes. Once the dinner was over we were left with enough turkey for another large dinner.
Instead of spending all week reliving that fabulous dinner I decided to make Turkey and Orzo Soup. This soup can be used for lunches or frozen for later enjoyment.
Then I decided that we needed something light and flavourful for lunch so I also made my favourite Turkey and Israeli Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries.
I hope you enjoy the recipes.
Turkey and Orzo Soup
Makes 8-10 servings
12 cups turkey stock
2 carrots diced into ½ inch pieces
1 onion finely chopped
1 parsnip diced into ½ inch pieces
2 celery stalks diced to ½ inch
2 cups leftover turkey meat cut to ½ to ¾ inch pieces
2 cups orzo pasta
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots and parsnip, cook until softened, about 8 minutes, stir often.
Add turkey stock, turkey meat, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are cooked, approximately 10 minutes.
Add orzo pasta and simmer until the pasta is ready, stirring often. Serve in soup bowls, sprinkle 2 tsp. parmesan cheese onto each serving.
Turkey and Israeli Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries
Makes 4 servings
¼ cup orange juice
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 ½ cups skinless roasted turkey meat, cut into medium dice
½ cup toasted almonds, chopped
2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 tsp. sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
In a 1 quart saucepan, bring the orange juice to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the dried cranberries, stir, set the mixture aside.
In a 3 quart saucepan, bring 2 quarts of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the couscous and simmer until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until the couscous is cool. Drain again thoroughly and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the cranberries and orange juice, turkey, almonds, celery, and scallions.
In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil and vinegar. Add to the couscous mixture and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
You can substitute orzo for the couscous and chicken for the turkey if you wish.
This recipe was adapted from one that I found in Fine Cooking Magazine.