Years ago I was invited to a luncheon at Florence's home...Florence was about 85 at the time and was the epitome of a firecracker...small and compact with an explosive personality tucked inside. Florence had her dining room table set with her fine china and crystal and beautiful flowers from her garden. Florence was riddled with arthritis so preparing a meal, with everything that entails, was not an easy task for her but she loved to entertain and "hold court" and she did so with style. From her fur trimmed, hand-made suits, to her proper shoes and pantyhose, Florence did everything with style! She served us her version of Turkey Tetrazzini - it was May - and the turkey had been left-over and frozen since the previous November...but we ate it and I remember it being wonderful - but then, just being in Florence's home, listening to her regale us with stories from her past, could make even an old frozen turkey taste good.
The secret to a good Tetrazzini is the sauce...you have to use heavy cream...don't you just love that you HAVE TO?!? It would be illegal not to...so don't even think about half-n-half! And while I would recommend using dry Sherry or Madeira, you can squeak by with cooking sherry...if you must. Once the sauce is made you can decide on the remaining ingredients...as long as you have mushrooms and turkey...you can add carrots, celery, even nuts if you'd like and you can serve this over pasta or rice or egg noodles, which is always my choice.
This is not Florence's recipe...she hand wrote her recipe out for me one day and I still have it, but between her hand-writing and my eye-sight, it's pretty illegible. But this is a wonderful recipe - full of flavor and the perfect way to use up those T-day leftovers.
Turkey Tetrazzini - Adapted from Gourmet, November 1997
1 lb. egg noodles, cooked (16 oz. package)
5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons dry Sherry or Madeira
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon fresly ground black pepper
3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey (or chicken breast)
Cook egg noodles according to package directions, set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a 13-x-9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan heat 3 tablespoons butter over moderate heat until foam subsides. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Stir in broth and simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in cream, Sherry or Madeira, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and pepper. Simmer sauce, stirring, 2 minutes more and remove pan from heat. Thinly slice mushrooms and onion. In a large heavy skillet heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook, sitrring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cooked turkey and any other cooked ingredients you want (I had some cooked left-over carrots so I added them.) Pour sauce over all and stir to combine. Transfer Turkey Tetrazzini to the prepared baking dish and scatter remaining Parmesan evenly over the top. Bake Tetrazzini, uncovered, in middle of oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling and top is touch with brown. Makes 8 servings.
"Thanksgiving is possible only for those who take time to remember; no one can give thanks who has a short memory." Author Unknown