Thanksgiving leftovers are an easy meal to put on repeat, but the turkey gets drier and drier with each day. The key to salvaging it — other than sandwiches slathered with mayonnaise — is rehydrating it in a flavorful sauce that turns it into a completely different meal.
A taco recipe from our book “Milk Street Tuesday Nights,” which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less, is a great way to use leftover turkey. We lay the foundation for a chili verde salsa by browning onions and poblano chilies in a skillet, then simmering the vegetables in cumin-spiked chicken broth.
A portion of the liquid is pureed in a blender with tomatillos to make the salsa, while the turkey is reheated in the remaining liquid. We add the puree to the pan to meld the flavors for an easy, spicy-tangy filling for corn tortillas, served with sour cream and pickled sliced jalapeños on the side.
Canned tomatillos make the prep go quickly, but be sure to crush and drain them in a strainer over a bowl before using them. Otherwise, their packing liquid would make the sauce too thin.
And if all the turkey has gone to sandwiches, a shredded rotisserie chicken works, too.
Start to finish: 40 minutes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 poblano chilies, stemmed, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
1 medium white onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth or water
26-ounce can tomatillos, crushed and drained
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup lime juice, plus lime wedges to serve
Eight corn tortillas, warmed
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chilies and onion, then stir, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onions are well browned, about 10 minutes.
Add the cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, bring to a simmer and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer 1 cup of the mixture to a blender, add the drained tomatillos and blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Return the skillet to medium-high. Add the turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pureed mixture and bring to a simmer. Off heat, stir in the cilantro and lime juice.
Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve with the tortillas and lime wedges.