Leftover Turkey Potato Cakes – pure comfort food heaven…and from leftovers too! These crispy potato and turkey cakes may be even better than the meal that preceded them.
The inspiration for these Leftover Turkey and Potato Cakes came from the most unusual of sources, a recipe contest….but it wasn’t a recipe in the contest.
Chef Roger Andrews, who is also a culinary instructor at the St. John’s campus of College of the North Atlantic, invited me to be a judge for the Saltscapes Magazine comfort food recipe contest. Roger and Kilted Chef Alain Bosse, who is also food editor for the magazine, served up the recipe entries to me and my fellow judges.
One of the other judges, Jonathan Richler, I knew. Jonathan is well known as a radio talk show host at VOCM here in St. John’s. He is also becoming just as well known for being a food entrepreneur with his venture The Jewish Deli, a regular at The St. John’s Farmers Market and a welcome pop-up in a town sorely in need of smoked meat!
The final judge that day was Ray Fennelly, a a photography and graphic design instructor at the college. While food is not his business, it doesn’t take long in speaking to him to discover that it is his passion. I could have listened all day about his extensive cookbook collection and a few celebrity chefs we follow…and one or two we think might be a little mad.
Somewhere the conversation turned to comfort food and/or leftovers. I may have mentioned that leftover turkey s a bit of a specialty on Rock Recipes. It was then he suggested Turkey Cakes as post Thanksgiving or Christmas leftover idea.
Similar in composition to much loved Newfoundland Fish Cakes, his idea for incorporating turkey leftovers into bit of an “everything-but-the-kitchen-sink” recipe made it a kind of a hybrid with turkey hash or Newfoundland Bubble and Squeak. Coincidentally, Spouse and I had planned a turkey dinner that very weekend, so within a couple of days the idea took life in my kitchen.
Spouse made some simple mashed potatoes with no butter or cream added. This gives the potato cakes hold together more in the pan. Creamy smashed potatoes are great at other times, but it’s a practical impossibility to make potato cakes from them.
Around the same time, my son Noah was frying bacon for a sandwich and of course, once I smell bacon cooking the next move is inevitable. Turkey and bacon are a great combination in a sandwich so I decided to throw some chopped, crisp cooked bacon into the mix; an optional addition of course but I added it because…well…bacon, right?
In short order, the turkey cakes were fried to golden perfection and drowned in some leftover, richly reduced gravy from the day before. Some homemade cranberry sauce added a delicious final accompaniment.
The result? Pure comfort food heaven! The turkey cakes needed a gentle touch in the pan but they still held together quite well, yielding a creamy centre with bursts of smoky, salty bacon flavour. The chunks of tender turkey were plentiful and of course the cakes were punctuated by the familiar flavour of savoury from the dressing. The rich gravy was poured on and with a dollop of the cranberry sauce onto each forkful, it was utterly delectable.
Thanks for the idea Ray; it’s one I know we will be making regularly around here and certainly sharing it with friends and family too. I hope our paths meet again so I can steal a few more nuggets from your similarly food obsessed brain.
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- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt an pepper to season
- 4 cups cold mashed potato
- 2 cups diced turkey 1/2 to 3/4 inch dice
- 1 cup leftover dressing stuffing
- 6-8 slices of crisp cooked bacon chopped. (optional)
- canola oil for frying
- cup flour for rolling cakes. About 3/4 .
- leftover gravy and cranberry sauce
Boil potatoes until fork tender, mash them well without adding butter ofr cream. Allow to cool to room temperature or colder. Warm potatoes make the cakes more difficult to form.
Sauté the garlic and onions in the olive oil, in a small pan over medium heat. Add to a bowl with all the potatoes, turkey, dressing & bacon.
Form onto 8 equal sized balls and then pat them to about 1 inch thickness. dip the cakes in flour to coat them, then place them on a parchment paper covered plate or tray.
Cover the bottom of a cast iron or non-stick frying pan with canola oil. Heat on medium for a few minutes before adding the cakes a few at a time. Don't crowd the pan or it will make it more difficult to keep the cakes intact.
Let them brown very well on one side before gently flipping them over to brown for an equal amount of time on the other side. 4-5 minutes should do it but the browner the better and the easier they will be to flip.
Transfer to a cookie sheet if making multiple batches and hold in a 200 degree F oven until all of the cakes are fried. Serve immediately with leftover gravy and cranberry sauce.