Turkey a la King


Thanksgiving came and went, like a slow train out of town. Shopping and cooking and hanging out. Marking and fretting. A big fat novel, Middlesex. Some languid afternoons – the last, I think – on my back deck. Unseasonable, unreasonable, heat: I like it, I hate it: it’s not funny anymore.

And friends tumbling into my home, the smell of roasting turkey enfolding them. A couple – South Asian and German – who’d never done Thanksgiving before. Their delight was palpable, anthropological.

A table and some chairs in my back sunporch, sort of like being out doors but not quite. The soft, early dark. Candles, gilding faces. Conversation and food and wine: talk about community, and work, and making art. The changes in our lives. The passing of time. the marking of it, with ritual, slightly self-conscious, largely joyous.

And the conclusion: the best apple pie I’d ever made. Pie crust is never ever the same. This one was thin, almost crunchy. And the apples had a full, but not-too-sweet taste, something like wine, and cinnamon, and honey.

Piles of dishes the next day. The abjection of leftovers. Wondering if I should try to obtain my mother’s recipe for Turkey a la King.

Any clever or nostalgic turkey leftover recipes anyone?


  1. I love Thanksgiving [which will happen here in the US next month]! Glad you were able to introduce a couple of people to this wonderful fall tradition. And your meal sounded lovely. As for leftovers, here’s a quick, spicy, flavorful lunch that I originally made with pork. But last night, I made it with leftover chicken. I’m sure turkey would be delicious in it too.

  2. I like to chase the Post Thanksgiving-vittlins’ with some of this lighter fare.

    Turkey Soup:

    Prepare and set aside the following:

    Squash (yes, I peel it), Fennel, Carrots, Potato, tomatillos (or green tomatoes)

    Ripped Kale and/or slice up hearts of Brussel sprouts, well I think they kind of look like hearts…that could be pretty!

    Crushed garlic

    In the bottom of a soup pot, sizzle up some of the left over chopped fresh herbs and onions you used in the stuffing, and as marinade, for the ‘Bird’ in enough olive oil, salt, pepper, bay leaf…

    …and now here is the skew…a little tumeric, cumin and a sufficient couple of pinches of saffron. Add in a double dash of Jack Daniels (gives a smoky bitter tone) and a drip of vanilla (just sweetens it up a little) and reduce liquid on a low heat, stirring for 5-10 minutes until onions are limp and transcluscent…

    Add your remaining turkey meat, bone-in, and diced vegetables to pot with 3″ water. Simmer for 2hours.

    When the soup is done, boil up your favourite noodles and pour some Turkey Soup over it. My dream would be home-made broad egg-noodles to die for, which one day I hope to try doing with you and the new pasta maker. I find my noodles always get mushy and overcooked if I cook them in soup, so if there is any soup-savvy cook out there who can let me in on any secrets…! Sometimes I make parsley scones with this one and serve hot in a cloth in a basket.

  3. Terry,

    Welcome to my blog! I’ve been enjoying yours! Thanks for the recipe…

    and Sandi, Your food ideas are quirky as always. But I will definitely try this as I do have a turkey carcass lurking in my fridge…

  4. Hey Marusya,

    I’ve been enjoying your site for awhile now, since I bumped into you on the Queen St. streetcar before your booklaunch. It’s a lovely and luscious read. I have a guilty comfort food turkey casserole recipe that I only make when I’m alone. I’m telling you for effect but without the actual recipe, it’s ’50’s style disgusting with a crushed bag of chips, Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, mayo, rice, chopped onions, celery and I do a vegetarian twist on it sometimes with sauted mushrooms. As if that makes it gourmet. Oh, and there’s a squeeze of lemon, milk and a few other details. It makes me very happy and probably others rather amused.

    Thanks for the blog, it’s generous of you.

    cheers, Cheryl

  5. This year my wife decided to have a dry run thanksgiving day to test out her recipes. We soaked the bird in a brine solution she got at William Sonoma it really kept it moist. OMG, the turkey was so good and I get to do it again in a few days!

  6. Cheryl and retro,


    Cheryl, I love that guilty comfort food turkey casserole, “50’s style disgusting”, fantastic!

    retro, Happy American Thanksgiviing! I’ll be doing it all over again on Thursday, with some American friends of The Guitar Player…but this time not cooking! I have tried brine with chicken and yes it does wonders.

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