Mom and I made a great turkey stock with the Thanksgiving bird this year and I put it to use on a variation of one of my husband's favorite dishes, risotto. Especially during the holiday season, it is a welcome relaxation to zone out with a glass of wine and stir a comforting dish for dinner. —Emily | Cinnamon&Citrus
small onion, diced
cloves garlic, minced
sweet potato, peeled and cut (roughly) into rice-like shapes: slice into rounds like potato chips, then into thin matchsticks, then cut down to small grains
Arborio or other short grain risotto rice
leaves fresh sage, chopped
leaves from a small bunch of thyme, about 5-7 sprigs
dry white wine
turkey stock (see cook's note below)
shredded leftover turkey meat (I prefer dark), whatever you have left from Thanksgiving dinner
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping each bowl to serve
In This Recipe
To make turkey stock with your leftover carcass after Thanksgiving, here is how my mom and I went about it this year: Separate the wings, thighs and drumsticks from the trunk (so that everything fits in the stockpot!) Sharp knives are hard to come by at my mother's so I couldn't manage to cut away the backbone, but I was able to break each of the thighbones in half - this helps to really thicken the stock as it cooks as the marrow can participate. Add the pieces to your largest stockpot and add vegetables on hand - we had some celery stalks, a few carrots, an onion which we halved, and the stems from a bunch of parsley - as well as spices and herbs - we used a bunch of thyme and the leftover sage stems from our stuffing, bay leaves, a few loose peppercorns and a cinnamon stick (this is my new trick to increasing the depth of flavor of any stock). Cover with water and place on the stove. Bring to a boil, add salt (about 2 tsp to a tablespoon), then reduce to a simmer and cook 4 hours before straining and storing. When stored, expect it to thicken up a bit (bone stock is like gelatin after all), but it will thin out again once rewarmed.
To make the risotto, warm 4-5 cups of turkey stock on the back burner of the stovetop. Do not boil or simmer, you do not want to evaporate any of your delicious stock.
On the front burner, melt the butter and oil in a large sautee pan with high sides (I actually use my wok a lot to make risotto!) Add the onion and a bit of salt and pepper and cook until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the sage, thyme, and garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
Add the sweet potato "rice" and real rice to the pan and stir to coat with the butter/oil. Toast for about 3 minutes, stirring until the Arborio becomes slightly translucent around the edges.
Add the wine to the pan and stir until mostly absorbed. Then add a ladle full of warm stock from the back burner and stir into the risotto (I have a habit of making figure of eights, but no idea if this has an effect on the final product...) Over medium heat, continue adding stock, ladle by ladle, into the risotto, stirring after each addition until mostly absorbed before adding another ladle-ful of stock to the pot. Continue this process until the rice is cooked and creamy and the stock is about gone, about 25-30 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of the process, shred in your leftover turkey so that it warms through and incorporates into the risotto.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Plate in bowls and allow to cool about 5 minutes (this improves the creamy texture), top with a little more Parmesan (and any leftover Thanksgiving green veggies you may have), and enjoy!