Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cajun Turkey Jambalaya

Tired of leftovers? Here's a great way to disguise last night's turkey or chicken in an entirely new dish. This quickly-prepped dinner is a delicious way to use what's left from a big holiday bird or the weekend's whole roasted chicken. In fact, I ordered an extra large smoked turkey from my butcher this Easter — just so I could stir this up later on.

Why do I love this recipe so much? It's a one-pot meal. It's easily varied. It has bacon in it! And it works equally well with freshly cooked, leftover or smoked turkey or chicken.

But I have to be honest with you. The real reason this is one of my go-to suppers is that the turkey and rice dish is a real crowd pleaser at my house. The jambalaya delivers enough kick to satisfy my husband and oldest son Max, who prefer spicy foods. Yet the heat is mild enough for me and Sam to enjoy, too.

A California Chopped Salad or green salad topped with Apple-Herb Vinaigrette would be a perfect way to round out this meal.

Mangia! Mangia!

Cajun Turkey Jambalaya
Adapted from Southern Food

4 ounces bacon, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper (red, yellow or orange bell peppers work here, too)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups leftover or cooked fresh turkey or chicken (white or dark meat or both), cut in cubes
4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley or both), divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups raw rice
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a Dutch oven or large ovenproof pot with lid, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon and set aside.

Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic and turkey to the bacon drippings and saute for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Add the chicken stock or broth, 1/2 cup of the cilantro, salt, black pepper, marjoram, cayenne and bay leaves. Stir together and bring to a boil.

Add the rice and stir to combine. Cover and place pot in center of oven. Bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 45 minutes.

Spoon servings onto plates or into bowls. Top with green onions, bacon and remaining cilantro.

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