A traditional Christmas dinner is the meal that keeps on giving. After the gifts are unwrapped and relatives return home, you’re left with Tupperware containers of burnished turkey, freshly-made cranberry sauce, simmered greens, juicy selects of ham and various sides and desserts that you dread reheating for the next week or two. All of your blood, sweat and tears in preparing this extravagant feast no longer excites you and the idea of enjoying cold stuffing out of a container at 1 a.m. is almost stressful as presenting the meal itself.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the leftovers filling your fridge, don’t fret! That turkey is more than a pile sandwiched between two rolls and serves a much more inspired second act. One of our favorite food experts, entrepreneur and finalist on Season 8 of “The Next Food Network Star” Chef Judson Todd Allen "Architect of Flavor"®, is here to provide us with delicious recipes (and a cocktail) for brand new flavorful and heathier meals.
Holiday Gumbo w/ Chicken Andouille Sausage, Smoked Pulled Chicken & Shrimp
Inspired by my New Orleans roots, holidays are not complete without huge pots of gumbo. A dish that can be daunting is made super simple highlighting Christmas dinner leftovers, spice and bold flavor. Your traditional butter is swapped with grape seed oil to make a rich nutty dark roux in tandem with chicken andouille sausage, pulled chicken or turkey from holiday dinner and shrimp, offers a breath of healthier inspiration.
In a large cast iron dutch oven or large pot, over medium high heat, bring approximately a tablespoon of oil to temperature. Add your cut sausage, chicken, vegetables, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of your creole spice. Render sausage and cook vegetables until translucent. Remove from pot, add to bowl and set aside.
Add your remaining oil to the same pot and lower heat to medium. Add your flour to the oil and cook. Make sure to continuously stir your roux for about 20 minutes or until you have reached a rich dark chocolate color. The roux should be smooth and silky without any lumps.
Transfer your sausage and vegetables to the roux, along with you chicken, remaining spices, hot sauce, file powder and herbs. Stir to meld flavors. Stirring constantly, add your stock and clam juice to the roux. Bring gumbo to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes or until it has reached desired thickness.
Add your shrimp and parsley at the end and cook for about 10 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.
Serve with white rice and green onions.
Tip 1 – When making your roux, substitute butter w/ grape seed oil to reduce fat and calories and season your flour with creole spices before adding to the oil when making the roux for enhanced flavor.
Tip 2 – If you are wondering what to do with the left over turkey or chicken from the holiday, no worries, it makes for the perfect addition to your New Years gumbo feast.
Tip 3 – Always use stocks like seafood or chicken, instead of water, to achieve the ultimate gumbo flavor profile
Sweet Potato Infused Eggnog
This is my innovative play on a traditional holiday eggnog. This decadent drink offers all of the flavor but without all the calories. As an added bonus, it's not only quick and easy, as it incorporates the sweet potatoes from holiday dinner, but also, if you are vegan or vegetarian and even lactose intolerant this is a beverage that you can indulge in.
On a foil lined sheet tray, place ½ sweet potato. Top sweet potato with brown sugar and butter. Roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove and cool.
In a blender, add almond milk, vanilla, avocado, frozen bananas, spices and sweet potato.
Blend until rich and creamy. Serve in frosted glass mugs with a pinch of cinnamon on top.
Butternut Squash Bisque
Perfect as a side dish or even a meal, this holiday inspired soup reuses the ideal winter vegetable squash and transforms it into a rich, decadent bisque.
Preparation Time 25-30 mins (includes prep and cook time)
On a large sheet tray lined with parchment, place your squash cut in half. Cover top with foil and roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until soft. On another sheet tray, lined, add veggies and herbs - garlic onion, poblano peppers, cauliflower and thyme. Drizzle olive oil over the veggies and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes (or until caramelized and golden).
After the squash has roasted, cut scoop out the seeds and inside and discard. Either scoop or cut away the “meat” of the squash.
In a blender, add your roasted veggies, roasted squash, coconut (almond) milk, veggies stock, hot sauce, nutmeg, honey and sea salt. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Transfer the soup to a stock-pot over a medium heat and allow flavors to meld together.
Serve either warm or cold and top with crushed pistachios for texture.
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