Are you wondering what to do with that rich and flavorful turkey stock you made with your holiday turkey carcass? Or how in the world you’ll eat all that leftover turkey before it goes bad? This homemade ramen recipe is so simple to make and each slurp of fresh vegetables, turkey and noodles warms both your belly and your soul.Oh man it is comfort food time. When wanting to turn leftover turkey into comfort food I can swing in two different directions, one is the rich cheesy and creamy pastas, turkey divan, or other casseroles. This year I’ve been feeling a little healthier and tapping into my Asian upbringing. Turkey comfort food in this winter season is fried rice, rice and barley stews, and ramen made from scratch. The bag of turkey scraps in my freezer is full of promise for future warm and hearty meals, and I know it will be gone long before I have to worry about freezer burn.
You may be wondering why I’m in need of comfort food, or perhaps you’ve noticed I’ve been absolutely lousy at responding to comments or emails the past week or so. No, it’s not leftover stress from our water heater disaster. My poor dear grandfather took a nasty spill the Friday before Thanksgiving that landed him in the emergency room with a broken hip, elbow and a split open forehead.
He and my grandma live in a retirement community about an hour and a half away so Eric and I have been doing quite a bit of commuting to cheer him up, help Grandma out, and figure out plans for the future with my father and his sister.
My father and I are the only relatives in the area for my grandparents. Since my parents are still caring for my autistic brother, Eric and I are really trying to help my dad in any way we can. Two of my dad’s sisters who live in California have taken turns flying out and staying with Grandma, which has been a huge blessing. I can’t imagine how hard it would be even now to have Eric away in the hospital for over a month and be stuck home by myself the whole time. I’m sure that after 64 years of marriage, functioning as a team and caring for each other, it’s even more difficult.
My Aunt Karen drove my grandma up to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, and we had so much fun eating, talking, and catching up. Poor grandma was obviously feeling exhausted from everything and conked out on the couch after we ate. The rest of us had a blast playing telephone pictionary, seriously the best group game ever!
Then we went down and visited my Grandpa in the Convalescent and Recovery center of their retirement community. He was so excited to see us and in good spirits because he got to watch a football game (I think that was something he really missed living in Africa for 50 years!). My Aunt Karen took tons of photos at my parents and showed them to Grandpa on her laptop.
Grandma was so cute holding his hand the entire time we were there. Aren’t they adorable?
So that’s what my mind has been focused on this week in the midst of cheerfully teaching classes, working, and trying to finishing unpacking and organizing while decorating for Christmas. Have any of you already gone through the process of determining care for parents or grandparents? I’d love to hear about your journey. Anyway, with everything going on this month dinner is really my only chance right now for relaxing body and mind, so Hot Ramen Soup it is!
Making ramen from scratch is really quite simple and flexible. I used turkey stock and meat because that’s what I have a lot of right now. But I’ve also made this with beef stock and leftover steak, or vegetable stock and tofu. So feel free to adapt the recipe with whatever stock, protein and vegetables you have on hand. Save money by working with what you’ve got!
As for the noodles, if you have any of those crazy cheap packages of ramen noodles feel free to toss the seasoning packet (which is pretty bad for you) and use the noodles. You can also use pretty much any type of rice noodle, mung bean noodle, soba noodle, all depending on what kind of texture you want.
I really like using the oyster sauce and fish sauce in the broth to add a deeper flavor. If you don’t eat seafood or don’t have those ingredients you can try playing with just soy sauce and rice vinegar (tasting as you go) or adding some miso paste. To make this gluten free make sure to use rice noodles and use gluten free soy sauce or tamari as well as a gluten free oyster sauce.
If there’s only one or two of you, just cook half the noodles for your first batch, store the leftover soup in the fridge and add the rest of the noodles when you reheat your leftovers (otherwise the noodles soak up way too much broth and can get soggy). You can skip pre-cooking the vegetables in the skillet and just cook them in the broth if you’d like, but I prefer the flavor and texture of the method outlined in the recipe.
Do you have a healthy and an unhealthy favorite comfort food to?
Turkey Ramen Recipeserves 4
4 cups of turkey stock
3 TBS fish sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 TBS soy sauce
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
2 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
8 mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, cored, halved and sliced
1/2 a small zucchini thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and julienned (divided)
2 small bundles of rice noodles
1 cup of torn up leftover turkey meat
1 cup of bean sprouts
12 fresh basil leaves
Fill a pot with the turkey stock and add fish sauce, oyster sauce, red pepper flakes and rice vinegar. Heat on medium high.
Meanwhile heat canola oil in a skillet or wok on high. Once oil is hot, add garlic and ginger, fry them for 30 seconds and then add onion, mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini and half of the julienned carrots. Toss to coat in the oil and cook about 2 minutes until vegetables are just softening.
Add the vegetables to your hot soup stock then add rice noodles and turkey. Let simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occaisionally, until noodles are cooked through. Divide among bowls and garnish with additional julienned carrot, bean sprouts and basil. Eat with chopsticks, slurp your noodles, and drink the broth straight from the bowl!
Approximate cost/serving: All the Asian ingredients are incredibly cheap from an Asian market. There’s about $2 worth of turkey meat and stock if you roasted your own turkey and made your own stock. The whole meal cost me about $4.15 so around $1.04 a serving.
Vegetarian/Gluten free: Use vegetable stock and tofu in place of turkey, other seafood free suggestions are in the post. For gluten free use gluten free soy sauce or tamari and a gluten free oyster sauce.