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Classic turkey a la king is a popular comfort food that combines soft, creamy textures with salty, savory flavors. When you have a lot of Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, turkey a la king is one recipe you'll want to have on your menu for supper because it's fast and easy to make.
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This recipe an easy week night dinner idea that uses up leftover turkey. The base is a creamy sauce that is traditionally thickened by a roux and flavored with spices and veggies, such as onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, and peas. It is traditionally served on a carb, like rice or toast points.
- Vegetables: mushrooms, peas, roasted red peppers or pimentos
- Aromatics: onions, celery, carrots, garlic
- Savory Seasonings: salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage, paprika
- Spicy Seasonings: curry, and cayenne pepper
- Liquids: stock, wine or sherry
- Dairy: butter, whole milk or heavy cream
- Thickening Agent: roux or cornstarch slurry
- Meat: turkey or chicken
- Garnish: parsley
Can I make this without condensed soup?
Yes, this dish was traditionally made without condensed soup, over a 100 years ago, so feel confident that it will turn out by making a roux. It's super easy to do and only takes two ingredients (butter and flour) and a few minutes of whisking.
What are the calories for one serving?
A ½ cup serving size has 151 calories and 9.3 grams of carbohydrates. It is also a good source of vitamins A and C. For more nutritional information, scroll to the bottom of the recipe card.
What can I serve this on for a meal?
This recipe is so versatile because you can serve it over a variety of carbs like rice, egg noddles, buttermilk biscuits, or toast points. Some creative chefs serve it over mashed cauliflower, crepes, or waffles.
You can also take your presentation up a few notches by serving the filling as a vol au vent or baked puff pastry shell. This step elevates this humble recipe and makes it quite impressive.
Does this recipe use up leftover turkey wisely?
It sure does. This recipe uses 3 cups of chopped or shredded meat to feed 8 people. If you need to scale this recipe up for a crowd, it's really easy to do and is a great way to stretch the meat to feed all your guests.
Can I make this ahead of time?
You sure can. Make it on the stovetop or in the slow cooker the day before. Allow it to cool completely, then put it in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use. It's best to reheat it in a saucepan over medium low heat, then serve it over a freshly made pot of rice or your carb of choice.
Can I freeze this recipe?
Yes, you can. Make sure the dish has cooled completely before freezing in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag. It keeps in the freezer for up to one month.
When ready to use, place it in the fridge overnight to thaw and reheat it in a saucepan over medium low heat until heated through. Serve it warm over your favorite carb.
Can I Make this Classic in a Crock Pot?
- White Sauce: Make a roux on the stovetop. Whisk in the chicken stock and milk, then let it cook to thicken the sauce.
- Dump and Stir: Put the spices, white sauce, and vegetables, except the frozen peas and pimentos, in the crock pot. Stir.
- Cook Time: Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.
- Finish It Off: Turn up the heat to high, add the frozen peas and pimentos, stir, and cook 30 minutes more.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients. To do the prep work, chop the turkey, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and roasted red peppers then measure the spices, chicken stock, and whole milk.
Saute the onions, celery, and carrots in melted butter over medium high heat until soft, then add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the dry spices and cook 1 minute while stirring.
Sprinkle on the flour.
Whisk the flour into the vegetable mixture and cook it for a 3 minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.
Slowly pour in the chicken stock and whisk it in so there are no lumps.
Pour in the whole milk and whisk it in, so the sauce is smooth.
Continue whisking until the sauce thickens.
Add in the meat, roasted red peppers, and frozen peas.
Stir until well combined, then cook until it's heated through.
- Want a different meat? Try chicken, tuna, ham, minced clams, or shucked oysters.
- Don't like mushrooms? Replace them with marinated artichokes.
- Want this to taste cheesy? Use 8 ounces of cream cheese or ¼ cup of freshly grated Parmesan.
- Need this gluten free? Use white rice flour for the roux, and products that are certified gluten free.
- Don't have leftover turkey? Use deli turkey cut ⅝-inch thick, then shred it.
- Low carb ideas: Serve it over cauliflower rice, zucchini noodle, or spaghetti squash.
- Want to add pastry? Use the filling for a savory family pie, or serve over puff pastry squares.
- Unique serving ideas: Serve it over corn bread wedges, waffles, crepes, or flat bread.
- Garnishes: Use flat leaf parsley or toasted slivered almonds.
- Emeril 3-Quart Skillet: this heavy-bottomed pan cooks evenly.
- Bamboo Spoon: we love using this spoon for stirring sauteed veggies.
- Set of 3 Whisks: these stainless steel whisks have served us well for years.
- 2-Cup Measuring Cup: this sturdy glass jug measures and pours well.
Enjoy all of that leftover turkey with these delicious recipes.
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Classic turkey a la king is a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. This from scratch recipe is an easy, quick and cheap weeknight dinner idea to serve your family. Make it on the stove top or in the crock pot and your kids will be asking for seconds.
- 2 tablespoons butter (28g)
- ¾ cup yellow onion, chopped (99g)
- 1 cup celery, diced (107g)
- ¾ cup carrot, diced (97g)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- ⅛ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ⅛ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ⅛ teaspoon ground sage
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour (30g)
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken stock (240 ml)
- 1 cup whole milk (240 ml)
- 3 cups cooked turkey, shredded (346g)
- ½ cup frozen peas (77g)
- ¼ canned red roasted peppers, diced (48g)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- sprinkle of white pepper
- 1 tablespoon flatleaf parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Cook the veggies. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. When it begins to foam, add the onion, celery, and carrots. Stir and cook until soft, roughly 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Bloom the spices. Sprinkle the thyme, rosemary, and sage onto the veggies. Let the spices bloom by stirring constantly for a minute.
- Make the roux. Reduce the heat to medium, then sprinkle on the flour. Whisk until the flour seems cooked, about 3 minutes. (You can cook the roux longer, 7 to 10 minutes, if you want a light brown roux.)
- Thicken the sauce. Whisk in the chicken stock first, and then the whole milk. Increase the temperature a tiny bit and let the milk heat up. Whisk constantly for a couple of minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
- Add meat and veggies. Lower the heat to medium low, add the diced roasted red peppers, shredded meat, frozen peas, salt, and white pepper to taste. Stir and cook until heated through, roughly 5 minutes.
- Enjoy! Serve warm over cooked brown rice or the carb of your choice with chopped parsley as a garnish.
Crock Pot Instructions
- Make a roux. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, then whisk in the flour. Cook the flour, whisking constantly, for at least 3 minutes.
- Make the sauce. Pour in the chicken stock and whisk it in, then do the same for the milk. Whisk for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened, then remove from the heat.
- Cook. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, spices, meat, and white sauce to a crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.
- Add peas and peppers. During the last 30 minutes, turn the heat up to high, then add the frozen peas and the chopped roasted red peppers. Stir, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Use deli turkey cut ⅝-inch thick, then shred it if you don't have leftover turkey.
- Serve it over cauliflower rice, zucchini noodle, or spaghetti squash if you want low carb options.
- Use the filling for a savory family pie, or serve over puff pastry squares if you want pastry.
- Serve it over corn bread wedges, waffles, crepes, or flat bread for some unique serving ideas.
- Use flat leaf parsley or toasted slivered almonds for your garnishes.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: old fashioned turkey a la king, leftover turkey recipes
This recipe was originally published on March 14, 2018.