Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Turkey Casserole

A casserole (from the french for "saucepan") is an excellent way to stretch leftover protein and is one of the quintessential comfort foods.

This one is based on a method for macaroni and cheese; bechamel (white) sauce, cheese (making it into a mornay sauce), pasta, more cheese, bread crumbs, bake.

As simple as this is (probably because of it) this one gets rave reviews. It could easily be embellished with the addition of your favorite spices and/or herbs.


4 tablespoons fat (butter works great)
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
Salt & Pepper
2 cups grated cheese, divided
leftover turkey meat, shredded
1/2 to 1 pound pasta, cooked per the package directions (don't forget the salt) and drained
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Heat butter over medium heat until melted. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly with whisk for a minute or more. Pour in milk all at once while whisking and continue to whisk until it comes to a boil. At this point your bechamel is as thick as it will get.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat and add 1 cup of the cheese. Stir until smooth. Now you have your mornay sauce.

In a large bowl fold together pasta, turkey meat and sauce. If it seems dry, stir in milk a little at a time to thin. Turn into a casserole pan.

Sprinkle over remaining cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until cheese and bread crumbs are golden, brown and delicious.

Sometimes I begin the bechamel with a saute of chopped onions and  garlic. Sometimes I make it without the meat and call it mac 'n' cheese. Turkey works great but cooked chicken, salmon, tuna, hamburger meat or maybe leftover ham or crispy bacon would all be great protein choices.


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