Happy Thanksgiving! Looking for a creative way to turn your Thanksgiving leftovers into something entirely different and exotic? If you like to plan ahead or you’re staring at leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce in your fridge after Turkey Day, this is a great snack you can whip up with a few Indian spices and fresh herbs: Turkey & Potato Cutlets with Cranberry Chutney. I always marvel at how one can take three classic North American dishes like roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, and reinvent them completely with an Indian twist — using the exact same ingredients! It’s like taking a culinary jaunt more than 7,000 miles around the world in a matter of minutes. Just cross-check this ingredients list with your pantry and/or pop a few spices and herbs into your shopping cart and you’ll be good to go.
With a few dashes of this and dabs of that, you’ll combine your leftovers with spices, breadcrumbs, mint, and cilantro, dip them in a little beaten egg and bread crumbs, then pan-fry them to produce reddish-gold glistening patties, crispy on the outside and full of bits of savory turkey, potato and herbs on the inside. With a few Indian touches, your leftover cranberry sauce will turn into something reminiscent of a classic tamarind chutney that’s often served with samosas and potato cutlets (aloo tikki) in India. The perfect post-holiday snack.
Depending on how much you ate at the holiday dinner table, you might only have room for a little tasty snack the-day-after anyway, as you’re cleaning up or reclining on an easy chair. And of course, if you’re the one doing all the cooking on Thanksgiving, just hand this recipe to your significant other, responsible child, or visiting cousin — and go put your feet up!
Turkey & Potato Cutlets
Serves 6 (yields 12 cutlets)
- 3 cups leftover cooked turkey
- 2-3 tablespoons canola oil (turkey has very little fat, so you need to add a bit of oil so it doesn’t burn)
- 1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2- inch fresh ginger root, minced
- 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes, firmly packed
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup fresh mint loosely packed, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro loosely packed, finely chopped
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- Place cooked turkey into a food processor and pulse a few times so it becomes coarse — it should look like flakes (see photo). Rinse out the food processor and keep it close, so you can use it to finely chop the fresh cilantro and mint.
- In a non-stick skillet heat oil with red chilli flakes. Once the flakes start to shimmer a little and you get a whiff of that chilli smell, add the turkey, garlic, and ginger. Mix well and sauté for a minute. Add spices and salt, and mix to combine well for another minute. Keep an eye on how much oil you might need because turkey has very little fat, you don’t want it to burn. Remove skillet from heat.
- Empty the contents of the skillet into a large plate or platter and set aside to cool. You want to get it to room temperature, so say 10 minutes or so.
- Measure out leftover mashed potatoes and pack it tightly into your measuring cup. Put into bowl and warm in the microwave just a little to take the cold edge off it. Likewise, you want to get it to room temperature, so say 20 seconds or so.
- When both the turkey and mashed potatoes are at room temperature, combine in a large glass mixing bowl, along with bread crumbs, fresh mint, fresh cilantro, and lemon juice. Combine well and form into 2-inch wide round patties.
- Set up a little assembly line with beaten eggs in one bowl and bread crumbs in another bowl. Dip each cutlet first in the egg and then the breadcrumbs.
- In a large deep skillet heat oil on medium-high heat. Place each cutlet gently into the oil and shallow fry on one side for 2-3 minutes. Turn it over and fry for another 2 minutes. it should be nice and red on both sides. Remove to a platter that’s lined with paper towel.
- 1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ground onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat the cumin seeds in oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the cumin seeds start to move a little, add the cranberry sauce and sauté for a minute, reducing the heat a little.
- Add the cayenne pepper, garam masala, ground onion powder, and salt. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Ground Chicken Cutlets