In Greece the only time we Roast a Turkey is either on Christmas day or during the New Year. I always cook it on Christmas Day, so I make all the preparation on Christmas Eve and while everyone is still asleep on Christmas day I roast it in the oven for 3 – 4 hours, depending on how big it is.
What we love most in roasting the turkey is the stuffing, so I did not change anything to this delicious recipe, except for adding two kinds of raisins: sultana and black Corinthian raisins. Usually, we have lots of leftovers the following day and I was hoping to have some this year as well in order to rest on Sunday, but it was so delicious that whatever was left from lunch disappeared in the evening, except for the two drumsticks.
The filling was with chicken livers, almonds, raisins and some rice to absorb all the juices.
The turkey was roasted with lemony potatoes, salt, pepper and oregano and with about 1 cup of olive oil and just a little water. To cook the turkey I wrapped the whole baking tin in aluminum foil and cooked it for two hours. It was then cooked uncovered, turning once for about 1 1/2 more hours.
I made our favourite Lahanosalata (Cabbage Salad). This recipe is included in the cookbook but I have a picture before mixing the ingredients, so that you can see most of the ingredients.
These Tyropitakia are so easy to make and so delicious. Feta wrapped in crispy phyllo and deep fried. Another recipe which is included in the cookbook with step by step instructions how to make them.
During the holidays we usually buy bread for 2 – 3 days, so eating stale bread is not so pleasant. As soon as you take the turkey out of the oven cut some slices of bread and bake them for about ten minutes. You simply have fresh hot bread again.
It’s even more delicious, as soon as they are out of the oven to drizzle some olive oil on top and sprinkle some salt, pepper and oregano.
Of course, Tzatziki is a must in every Greek table. What make real Greek tzatziki delicious is primarily the Greek yoghurt.
In the evening I put the carcass of the turkey and bones, after removing the meat from the drumsticks and put it in the refrigerator with the turkey drippings.
The next morning I put it in a pot and filled it with water and added the drippings which were about 1 cup. After bringing to boil, I lowered the heat and simmered it for about 2 hours.
When it cooled, even if you’ve removed all the meat you think you could have removed, I managed to get about 2 cups of meat. I put this in a bowl with a lid in the refrigerator and the broth which was about 2 1/2 – 3 litres, in another.
The advantage of refrigerating the broth is that the fat rises on top, so you can remove as much fat as you like, although in my opinion that’s the most tasty part. I removed half of the fat.
On Sunday I made a Chicken Recipe, using some of the broth. This recipe will be posted another day but yesterday I made the most delicious Turkey soup.
To make the soup
The beauty of this soup is that you can use any vegetables you have available in your refrigerator as well as the herbs and spices you love and just a little bit of salt. This soup is based on a similar recipe I have in the cookbook with meat. If you need a more filling soup to eat it as a main course add some rice or pasta just before it is ready. You can eat the soup by just adding some raw olive oil and lemon but I preferred to mash it in a food processor first and then added the lemon juice and cooked it for 5 more minutes with tiny pasta called peponaki. Peponaki (peponi means melon) is similar to orzo only it’s exactly the size of rice and is named because it’s resemblance to the seeds of melon. I served it with Greek yoghurt dissolved with a little water, to make it creamy.
This soup was so delicious that we all hands seconds.
Greek Homemade Turkey Soup, Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serves: 6 – 8
- 1 turkey carcass
- 1 cup drippings
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 onion, finely cut
- 1 clove garlic, finely cut
- 2 medium potatoes, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 cup celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 ripe tomato, peeled and grated
- 1 cup cabbage, finely chopped
- 1 cup frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, corn)
- ½ cup various bell peppers, red, orange, green
- 1 cup white dry wine
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp various whole peppercorns (red, black, green, white)
- ½ tsp oregano
- ½ tsp thyme
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups, turkey meat, bite-sized pieces
- 1 ½ litres turkey broth
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup tiny pasta (peponaki)
- 200 ml Greek yoghurt dissolved with ¼ cup water (or milk)
- Put turkey carcass and any leftover turkey bones as well as the drippings in large pot and cover with water.
- Bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Set aside to cool and remove any meat.
- Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent. Add all the vegetables and sauté about five minutes. Add the wine and mix
- Season with salt and all the dried herbs and spices.
- Add the turkey broth and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 1 hour until all the vegetables are soft.
- Add turkey meat and lemon juice and remove bay leaf.
- Allow the soup to cool before puréeing it in the food processor.
- Bring back to boil and finally add pasta and cook for five minutes.
Dilute yoghurt with water to make a cream. Serve with yoghurt on top.
You can serve it with croutons or baked bread as above.
Other recipes to make with leftover turkey:
Turkey & Leek Pie (substitute chicken with turkey)
Turkey Fajitas (substitute chicken with turkey breasts)
Kotopita (substitue chicken with turkey breasts)
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!!