Plan for leftover turkey

Gretchen McKay
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Whether or not to get up before the crack of dawn to go shopping isn’t the only question to be answered on Black Friday. If you overcooked like most Americans, you’ll also be wondering what to do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers.

There’s turkey sandwiches, of course. But admit it — that’s boring. Why not shake things up this year and opt for a taste of the sunny Southwest instead, with this easy, cheesy turkey tamale pie? It only requires one pot, and it’s the type of dish that warms you up from the inside.

This recipe can be made two ways — family style, in a large casserole or skillet, or in single-serving mini skillets. Pomegranate arils add crunch and color.

Turkey Tamale Pie

For polenta

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk

1 cup polenta or cornmeal

4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese shredded, plus 4 ounces more for topping

1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

2 to 4 tablespoons butter

For turkey

2 cups leftover turkey, shredded

1 cup leftover gravy

11/2 cups red enchilada sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 red pepper, diced

11/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained

For garnish

Diced avocado

Fresh cilantro


Pomegranate arils

4 ounces queso fresco or cotija cheese, crumbled

Crushed tortilla chips

Start by making the polenta. Pour chicken broth and milk into a high-sided skillet and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep warm and then just before serving, stir in cheddar cheese and butter. Season with salt and pepper. If the polenta seems a little thick, you can add a tablespoon of butter or extra milk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

While polenta is cooking, mix together turkey, gravy, red enchilada sauce, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and pepper in mixing bowl. Stir in red pepper and black beans. Once the polenta is done cooking, smooth it out into a single layer and then pour the turkey tamale mixture over it, spreading it in an even layer. Top with remaining 4 ounces shredded cheese.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pie is bubbling and the cheese is melted. Allow to sit 5 to 10 minutes, and then serve with avocado, cilantro, salsa, pomegranate arils, queso fresco or cotija cheese and tortilla chips.

Serves 6 to 8.