Turkey Leftovers: Turkey a la King

This is something my mother used to make, and I think we enjoyed it more than Thanksgiving dinner itself.  It answers a great question:  What do you do with all the leftovers?  Typically, I think we either make Thanksgiving dinner part 2, make turkey soup and throw everything in there, try to pawn off as much as you can to anyone you can, or sort of work the leftovers into your dinners over the next few days.  As much as I love turkey soup and the idea of having Thanksgiving two days in a row, my personal favorite is to work the leftovers into your dinners for the next couple days.

Turkey a la King is the best.  I look forward to this all year.

Again, my mother used to make this, and probably still does once in a while.  Primarily, it’s perfect for utilizing the leftover turkey bits, but you can also incorporate some vegetables, and even some starch in there. It’s savory, wholesome, easy to make and completely satisfying.

Some people like to like to turn this into turkey pot pie by stuffing it between sheets of puff pastry, some like to serve over rice, and some like to add a lot of other things in there, like carrots, sour cream, green beans, and so on.  You are the one making this, using your leftovers, so please, improvise and make it your own.  My recipe is very basic, relying on only the fundamentals, done right, to make it delicious:.  Turkey, peas, mushrooms, and a creamy sauce; the basics.

This is not my mother’s recipe.  It’s a touch more refined, but result is the same:  a great way to use leftovers and make a great late fall meal.

Turkey a la King

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield:  4 portions


All left over turkey meat, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or shredded); you want about 2 cups of meat
2 cups sliced button or mixed mushrooms (crimini, shitake, oysters, and so on)
1/2 bag frozen peas
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
2 cups milk
1 cup half and half
1 stick organic unsalted butter
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup flour
1 bag Pennsylvania Dutch wide egg noodles
kosher salt
1/2 bunch parsley, rough chop
cracked black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil


In a small heavy bottom sauce pot, gently melt the butter with the onion.  Add the flour, stirring continuously, until all the butter is absorbed and a paste (roux) is formed.   Cook the roux, stirring continuously, for about 2 minutes.  Slowly add the milk, a few tablespoons at a time, stirring after each addition.  As the roux loosens, you may add more milk in greater quantities.  You will want to switch to a light whisk, and begin whisking the sauce.  Add all the milk and half and half, season liberally with salt and pepper, add the nutmeg, and slowly bring to a simmer (high heat will scorch the pot).  It should be thick.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, check the seasoning, adding more salt if necessary, and remove from heat.  This is a bechamel sauce.  Keep warm.

Cook the egg noodles, and drain.  Do not rinse.  Keep warm.

In a large straight side saute pan, saute the mushrooms in the veg oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  When the mushrooms are golden brown, add the turkey meat and peas.  Gently saute until hot.  Pour the bechamel into the pan, lower heat to low, and gently stir everything to incorporate. Make sure it’s hot.  Check and re-season if necessary.

In a large mixing bowl, pour the turkey mix over the egg noodles and mix well.  Add the parsley, and serve right away.

This is best served in front of a roaring fire with your family and friends.



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