Every year we start our Thanksgiving planning with the best of intentions. "Last year was over the top. Could we please put the brakes on with the side dishes this time?" And every year, we cook way more food than our extended family could possibly eat in one sitting.
I blame my father.
He can't resist a side that sounds good. Of course we need creamed turnips along with creamed cauliflower, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and turnip gratin. And that's just the starches!
Every year we pick out a turkey big enough for all of us, not counting the fact that we will be so full of sides that we won't have a lot of room left for the turkey.
But is this a problem? Having too much turkey?
Uh, let me think about it. No. No, it is not a problem. It just means more opportunities for creative uses of turkey leftovers, like this luscious turkey noodle casserole.
It's creamy, it's crunchy, it's sort of fancy for a casserole. Never mind that though, it tastes great! A perfect home for the leftover turkey that lost out to too many sides.
Making This Turkey Casserole Recipe Your Own
- Swap out the tarragon with some sage, thyme, or rosemary.
- Throw in some leftover vegetables, like mushrooms, peas, or carrots.
- Try an Emmental, raclette, Jarlsberg, cheddar, or Swiss cheese.
- Replace the vermouth with more broth instead.
Saving and Serving Turkey Casserole
You can make this turkey casserole in advance and store it in the fridge right in the ceramic or metal casserole dish to go directly from the refrigerator to the oven.
You can also freeze the casserole before you put it in the oven. Then, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake. You can also go directly from the freezer to the oven. It just takes about twice as long to heat it up.
Just be sure to wrap your casserole a couple of times with heavy-duty foil before freezing. Be nice to your future self and label and date your casserole too! Then, you'll know what's in that mystery dish and remember to eat it within three months for the best results.
Sides to Serve With Turkey Casserole
- Waldorf Salad
- Cold Pea Salad
- Creamed Spinach
- Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower
- Arugula Salad With Beets and Goat Cheese
Turkey Noodle Casserole
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sliced shallots or thinly sliced onions
2 cups diced celery
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces egg noodles
1/3 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup cream or sour cream
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
2 teaspoons dry tarragon
6 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
3 cups coarsely chopped cooked turkey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon melted butter
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven, and boil water:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Start heating 4 quarts of water for the pasta. Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water (1 tablespoon for every 2 quarts of water).
Cook the shallots and add flour:
Melt butter in a large, thick-bottomed (5-quart) pot on medium heat. Add the shallots and celery, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the flour and cook over low heat, stirring, for about 3 minutes.
Cook the noodles firmer than al dente:
Put the noodles into the boiling water. Follow the package directions and cook the noodles for 2 minutes less than the range given on the package.
The pasta should be a bit firmer than al dente. So, for example, if the package instructions say bring to a boil and cook for 6 to 10 minutes, add the pasta to the hot water, return the water to a boil and cook it for 4 minutes. While the pasta is cooking, continue on with the recipe.
Start the sauce:
Into the saucepan with the butter, shallots, celery, and flour, add the dry vermouth and let bubble for a minute. Then, stir in the milk, cream, and stock. Add the tarragon.
Bring to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 8 minutes.
Drain and rinse the pasta:
By the time the sauce is done, the pasta will be ready. Drain and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop the cooking.
Add the cheese, mustard, and turkey to the sauce:
Add the grated cheese and mustard to the pot. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add the chopped cooked turkey to the pot.
Add salt to taste (depending on if you are using salted stock or not, or salted butter or not, that could be no added salt to as much as a teaspoon added). Add freshly ground black pepper.
Add the pasta, lemon juice, and transfer to casserole dish:
Now it's time to add the cooked pasta to the pot. If the noodles have stuck together, rinse them in the colander with a little water to separate them. Add the noodles to the pot with the turkey.
Stir in the lemon juice and adjust the seasonings to your taste.
Transfer the mixture to a buttered 3-quart casserole dish.
Top with the panko and melted butter:
Sprinkle the top with panko and drizzle 1 tablespoon of melted butter over the top.
Bake until golden:
Bake the casserole at 375°F on the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is bubbling, and the top is golden.
If you can wait, let the casserole cool a bit before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley, if using.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 10|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||24%|
|Saturated Fat 10g||50%|
|Total Carbohydrate 26g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||8%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 4mg||20%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|