Saturday, January 01, 2011

Deconstructing Christmas Dinner

or, "What To Do With the Leftovers".

I haven't reported on our very enjoyable Christmas dinner of last week. To sum up briefly, our former neighbor, Larry hosted nine guests at the beautiful house he's presently watching for the absentee owners.

This was the menu, more or less:
We started out with chips and dips. A lady friend brought a "24-hour Salad" in a hurricane glass. (I don't understand the hurricane connection, but the salad of many layers was very tasty.)

Our host baked a spiral ham, while a friend with professional food service experience roasted a turkey for us. There was plenty of rich gravy and the mushroom gravy I'd made for backup wasn't necessary.

Spiral Ham

My contribution was mostly the large pan of sausage and nut dressing, with a smaller casserole of shiitake inflected dressing for a vegetarian friend. I also made about 40 white, fluffy potato bread rolls.

Dressings: sausage left; vegetarian right
There were tasty but not gooey sweet potatoes and mashed white potatoes. A new friend brought seasoned fresh green beans, and I was grateful that they were not the canned variety with the condensed mushroom soup and canned fried onions on top.

There were creamed baby onions, but unfortunately, they got cold before serving and with no microwave oven, we did not reheat them.

Don Cuevas' plate of selected viands
Desserts were several kinds of bought pies, plus some dense pound cake and cooked eggnog I'd made.
We all left fat and happy.

Afterward, we salvaged a couple of big hambones, some turkey legs and a thigh, as well as the mushroom gravy, a lot of dressing and the creamed onions. Here's how I used the leftovers:

One day, we simply had a combo plate of turkey, dressing, mushroom gravy and (new) mashed potatoes. The turkey bones went into the stockpot with aromatic vegetables and herbs.

On the following day, I made a sort of turkey gumbo from the stock, the leftover dark meat plus a few fresh vegetables, all of the mushroom gravy some rice blend and some spices. (Yes, yes, it's not an authentic gumbo, but it tasted fine.)

The creamed onions were divided into two containers, one destined for the freezer and the other a brunch dish with eggs and a little sharp cheddar cheese.

The day before yesterday I made ham stock from the bones, and chilled it overnight in order to be able to easily remove the congealed fat layer. The meat trimmed from the bones was reserved to add to a pot of "alubias chicas", which resemble Navy Beans. They require a long soak and long, careful cooking. We invited Larry to lunch. With the soup we had cornbread made with Nora Mill Stone Ground Yellow Cornmeal.

The rich, dense sausage dressing remains in two Ziploc bags in the freezer. More gravy will be required, I think, but not for some time to come. The dressing would go well with a small, boneless herbed pork loin hibernating in the freezer depths, later, much later.

We wish you a Happy and Bountiful, (and most of all) Safe Year 2011

 Don Cuevas y Doña Cuevas


Michael Dickson said...

Dang, that looks good.

Don Cuevas said...

Thanks, Felipe.
Your comments are appreciated. Did you and Lady Zapata have Christmas dinner?

Don Cuevas

My Mexican Kitchen. 100% Disqus free.

Anonymous said...

yum!!! all that looks great! i almost wish i could have teletransported myself from our cruise to that dinner table. but can't complain as we had plenty of great food!

i hope you and your wife have a wonderful and very prosperous new year filled with love, happiness and good health.

teresa in lake stevens

Tancho said...

As always your culinary adventures make my mouth water...I get lazy with leftovers, for some reason we have more quiche with the leftovers, and a few weeks ago, I made some potato pancakes with turkey stuffing as part of the ingredients. Any way to use up the leftovers....
Keep the bloggging coming for this new year, Best wishes to La Familia Cuevas, et al.

Don Cuevas said...

Thank you, Tancho.
Our Christmas dinner was outwardly very traditional, but the details were customized.

More leftovers: this morning I converted 1 leftover sardine, a cup and a half of cold mashed potatoes, some fine dry bread crumbs, chopped onion, seasoning salt blend, and an egg into Sardine Potato Cakes. Fried in a skillet with corn oil, they were surprisingly good.

Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

Wow. Great dinner. And I like the ham and bean soup idea. But, as you know, I can't find a full ham, let alone a ham bone. I will have to join you folks in the hills to find sophisticated fare.

Don Cuevas said...

When will you be coming this way, Steve?
Where are you living now?

Don Cuevas

Michael Dickson said...

To answer your question: Mexican Christmas dinner happens past my bedtime. My lovely wife enjoyed it downtown with some relatives, spending the night there, and I passed the evening in utter peace alone, which was fine by me.

Being Disqus-free is not a plus. It is a minus. You will, in time, get with the program. You will do it because it is prettier. It is more versatile and immediate. People you know do not require moderation nor having to fill out those little word ID things. Commenters can edit their typos, avoiding embarrassment, and you can do the same. Spam is far more effectively blocked. And there are other pluses to boot. Yes, in time, you will awaken.

Now, let's see if I can make out the word ID, and then my comment will appear here hours or days later.