Even in the midst of moving madness, I couldn’t resist sharing a new creation from my kitchen. The story goes like this: I ordered two turkey breasts from my natural meat co-op a few months ago, expecting the breasts to be about five pounds each. When I arrived to pick them up, I discovered that they were over ten pounds each! Holy cow. That’s a lot of turkey for two people to put away at once. I roasted one this weekend and found myself scrambling for creative ways to present the same ol’ turkey night after night. Some will go into the freezer, of course, but I’m having cooked meat on hand is super helpful at the moment.
Inspiration struck when I attended a friend’s baby shower on Saturday. (Well, technically speaking, I missed the shower part, because I mis-read the invitation and showed up two hours late! Fortunately, my friend was forgiving, the guests were friendly, and the hostess still had plenty of yummy food, so I still go to munch and mingle. Phew!) Everyone raved about the chicken salad cups, which I couldn’t eat because the salad rested in phyllo (gluten allergy and all that). But I asked the hostess how she made the salad. She mentioned chicken, Miracle Whip, celery, honey, cranberries, and pecans. Hmmm… I started thinking.
And the salad below is what I came up with — shredded turkey studded with sweet apple, tart dried cranberries, rich toasted pecans, crunchy celery, and a kiss of nutmeg. Yum. The effect is surprisingly fresh and light tasting. Think of it as a spring-time twist on a holiday classic. My husband, mom, mother-in-law, and I all loved it. This one is a definite keeper! In the future, I may serve it alongside a salad of baby greens and cranberry vinaigrette. Hello, beautiful.
- I used cameo apples, which are sweet and crisp. Choose whatever apples you like best, though I would suggest avoiding Granny Smiths for this project.
- Don’t under-salt this salad if you’re using home-cooked turkey (as opposed to canned turkey). You really need enough salt to bring out all of the flavors.
- Do try to make this a day ahead. This way, the cranberries soften up and swell a bit, and all of the flavors develop and meld together.
- A nice variation would be to use a good yellow curry powder instead of nutmeg. I sprinkled a little curry over a spoonful to test it before I added the nutmeg, and it was awesome! I just found myself in more of a nutmeg mood this week.
- Although I chose to forgo the added sweetness of honey (and Miracle Whip too, for that matter), I’m sure a little honey would taste fantastic, if that’s your thing.
Turkey Salad with Cranberries, Pecans, Apples, and Nutmeg
4 cups cooked, shredded turkey (all white meat or a mix of white and dark meat)
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large apple, cored and diced
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans
mayonnaise to taste (I used Vegenaise this time, though I hope to use homemade in the future)
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients together and store in the refrigerator overnight. Serve with crackers, on bread as a sandwich, or on a bed of greens. It’s all good!