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Turkey Dinner Bread Pudding

Dec 19, 2012

As a chef, my greatest fear is running out of food. At home, I can stretch it - loaves and fishes style - and make the food I've cooked go a little bit further. At work, there is no excuse for coming up short. Once I accept the challenge (and more importantly, the $$$) to cook for someone professionally, I need to deliver. Nobody can go hungry. I'd rather have 20 portions too many rather than one portion too few. Which brings me to leftovers. Personally, I love leftovers. I'm used to leftovers. As an Italian, I also love and am used to leftovers. It's in my blood to overproduce. What can I say? As a people, we Italians make a lot of food. I was always told, "Mangia mangia. You're too skinny." Either way, as a chef and as an Italian, I end up with a lot of leftovers. Particularly around the holidays!!!

I don't know about you, but I can only feed the kids so many hot turkey sandwiches between Christmas and New Year's before they start looking at me with that "I think we've seen this one before, buddy, I thought you were some kind of chef" look. So, I've come up with a creative leftover solution, and I think you're gonna like this one. I give you Leftover Turkey Dinner Bread Pudding! Scratch that. Nobody else has to know about the leftovers part. It'll be our little secret. Let's try this again. I give you ...Turkey Dinner Bread Pudding à la cheffer!. This recipe is really flexible. The exact ingredients will be unique to your particular collection of holiday leftovers. The method is simple, and the taste - while predictable - is fantastic.

You'll need ...

  • 4 cups cooked turkey (mix of light and dark meat)
  • 2 cups stuffing
  • 2 cups bread (cut into 1-inch cubes, or torn into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup cooked carrots
  • 1 cup cooked corn 
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup gravy
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp each sage, thyme, rosemary (chopped fresh)
  • pinch salt & pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. If you're in the kitchen with the kids, feel free to have them do the mixing with their (clean) bare hands. Once combined, the mixture should hold together, and be quite sticky. If it looks too dry, add a little more gravy, another egg or 2, or a touch of milk or cream. This is NOT a specific, or scientific, recipe. This is the style of cooking I like to refer to as "winging it." 3. Pack the mixture into a greased - or even better, parchment-lined - loaf pan(s). Cover with plastic wrap and foil, and place the loaf pan(s) into another larger pan, like a roasting pan. Fill the outer pan with hot water until it reaches 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the loaf pan(s). Place the whole roasting pan into the oven and bake until set - about 35 to 45 minutes. In a perfect world, you'd like to reach 71°C or 160°F. (FYI: Instead of loafs, this time I made turkey dinner bread pudding muffins - my kids love them this way!)4. Carefully remove the pan from the oven, and remove the loaf pan(s) from the water bath. Allow the loafs to cool slightly. Slice and serve, potentially with some fresh mashed potatoes and fresh veggies. Cranberry sauce or turkey gravy makes a tasty topping.Congratulations! You've re-invented holiday leftovers. Ironically, this dish makes fantastic leftovers!Cheffer's Inside Scoop

  • The water bath helps to "steam" the pudding. If you like crispy edges, just bake the loaf (loaves) on the rack of the oven at 325°F.
  • For a portable snack or funky hors d'oeuvres, bake the mixture in muffin tins or mini muffin tins.
  • Use fresh mashed potatoes as "icing," and you've got a cool-looking "faux cupcake." Trick somebody, if that's your style.
  • The muffins make a great portable snack or school lunch, as they are quite tasty at room temperature.
  • If you also have ham with your holiday feast, go ahead and include some in this recipe. The more ingredients, the merrier.
  • I have served this in lieu of an actual turkey dinner. You can cook everything ahead of time, and just bake your loaves, giving you time to spend with your friends and family instead of being in the kitchen all day. (However, you may actually want to spend the day in the kitchen ... I don't know your family!)

Patrick Engel has been cooking professionally for 15 years. After graduating from George Brown College in Toronto, and training in the kitchens of Rodney's Oyster House and Bymark Restaurant, Patrick relocated to Niagara's wine region, working at Inn on the Twenty, followed by six years as resident chef instructor at The Good Earth Cooking School. Patrick is currently the chef at Hospice Niagara's Stabler Centre and associate chef at The Garrison House in Niagara-on-the Lake. Patrick lives in St. Catharines, Ontario, with his wife, Marnie, and their two boys, Charlie (7) and Johnny (5).

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