Canadian Thanksgiving was a couple of weeks ago. Being far from family, Adarsh whisked me away for a lovely weekend in the Okanagan Valley, to an incredible desert landscape nestled deep in the mountains. It was wonderful, and we had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at a winery, but it didn't completely scratch the itch - I wanted the leftovers! So I cooked a completely spontaneous turkey dinner the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
I mean, what's Thankgiving without the next-week turkey sandwiches? And the soup? And your mom's Turkey Chow Mein casserole??!
This casserole makes an appearance in the days following most, if not all, turkey dinners at my mom's house. She whips it up with a couple of cans of Cream of Chicken soup tossed together with the rest of the ingredients. A scrumptious mix of creamy and crunchy, the luscious sauce coats crispy celery and chow mein noodles, shredded turkey and tender bean sprouts. It's real comfort food.
I adapted her recipe to be more from scratch - with a really simple sauce of milk and broth thickened with butter and flour. It doesn't take much more time than opening a can, and you get to avoid a handful of questionable ingredients...
In doing my research, I found recipes that incude water chestnuts - that would be a yummy addition, too. To "shred" turkey, put a chunk of it on a cutting board and use two forks to pull it apart in opposite directions. Chop up any shreds that are too big for a bite.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup milk (or part milk, part cream)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cups shredded leftover, cooked turkey
- 8 oz bean sprouts
- 1 14-oz bag chow mein noodles
- Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt butter over medium heat in a medium-large sized pot. Add onion and celery, and saute 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add milk or cream in a gradual stream, stirring constantly to incorporate. Stir in chicken broth and soy sauce. Cook until simmering and thickened, about 6 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine turkey, bean sprouts and 3/4 of the chow mein noodles. Pour the creamy sauce over top, and toss to thoroughly combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Spread mixture in a baking dish (of 2 1/2 - 3 quart/litre capacity; 9x13" works well) and sprinkle with reserved chow mein noodles. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.