Thanksgiving Leftover Perfection: Turkey and Dumplings

Hi Friends! Welcome back to Whatcheescooking, the monthly cooking klatch where I share my family’s favorite recipes, products, tips and tricks to bring restaurant-quality meals to your table. 

With the holiday season coming up WAY too quickly, it’s easy for that grocery bill to climb even higher than it usually does. 

It’s crazy-expensive out there, so making the most out of your groceries is key to help combat the rising cost of holiday staples. 

One of those staples is the classic Thanksgiving turkey. There are always awesome deals to be had at most grocery retailers during the holiday season, and I always end up with a couple for the deep freezer, getting them for free if I plan my shopping just right and spend enough (I take it as a personal challenge). 

Planning ahead and shopping wisely are both great ways to help the holiday grocery budget, but so is focusing on low/no waste cooking. I try my darndest to use as much as I can out of my grocery purchases; that “tip-to-tail” kind of mindset. 

A Tasty Way to Use Turkey Leftovers: Turkey and Dumplings

Point-of-View (POV) situation: It’s a COLD and wintry afternoon, you’ve just spent all day shopping and keep thinking about how much work will be involved in hosting all the holiday festivities … plus (cherry on top), it’s getting way too dark WAY too early!

It’s time for comfort food

You’ve got loads of leftover turkey, just enough energy to throw together something easy, and cannot bear the thought of another turkey sandwich. 

What’s something easy that chases the chill right out of you like a big, warm tummy hug? A dish that makes the entire house smell amazing, like a savory-culinary pot-pourri?

turkey and dumplings recipe

Enter my Smoked Turkey and Dumplings. It comes together quickly, is versatile as heck (Hello, Costco rotisserie chicken! Hello, extra veggies or greens!), and is a HUGE family favorite around the holidays (and beyond). 

Comfort foods like this dish aren’t meant to be too fussy or complicated; they’re meant to be simple, delicious and nourishing.

Hot tip: I love to use the bones for homemade stock once we have removed the meat from the cooked and cooled bird. 

Homemade stock also keeps well in freezer-safe containers and is a great kitchen staple as it gives any dish some depth and an added layer of richness.

After the holidays, my daughter goes back to the grind of work and school with frozen, gallon-bags of the stock. It helps her from not feeling homesick, too (bonus!). 

My son and hubster are always requesting this recipe (even in summer), and it reheats beautifully from frozen. 

Turkey and Dumplings

Serves 4-6

  • 2 pounds of cooked, Thanksgiving turkey or rotisserie chicken, shredded into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • Avocado oil
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 1.5 liters turkey or chicken stock 
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon base
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup flour 

Dumpling Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 4 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/3 cups milk

Instructions for Turkey and Dumplings

Step 1: In a large stock pot, sautè onion, celery and garlic in avocado oil over medium heat until onions begin to turn transparent. 

Add turkey or chicken to the vegetables and sprinkle flour over the top. Mix well to coat the protein and veggies evenly in flour. 

Step 2: In a small mixing bowl, combine chicken stock, sour cream, heavy cream, bouillon or base, and salt and pepper. 

Pour this over turkey and veggies and mix well.

Bring to a simmer and add carrots, peas, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and let stew simmer while you prepare the dumplings. 

Step 3: In a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry dumpling ingredients and stir well. 

Add in parsley, then melted butter, then milk. 

Once dumpling dough is combined, roll into small, round dumplings. 

Step 4: Remove lid and stir turkey stew. Carefully place the dumplings into the stew and replace the lid. 

Cook dumplings for 15 minutes, or until they float to the top of the liquid.

Stir the stew gently, and set aside to cool slightly so you don’t burn your mouth – That’s the worst! 

Step 5: Finish the dish off with some fresh parsley and dig right in – The table is usually pretty quiet after the first bite. 

turkey and dumplings

We use smoked turkey simply because our Thanksgiving Turkey ends up on the Traeger every year. 

I created this recipe with my wonderful foodie son, Mason. Kids are never too young to learn to be safe and proficient in the kitchen! 

Whether after Thanksgiving or during the regular week, what’s your favorite way to use leftovers? Reach out and let us know!

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Kim Lehr

Kim Lehr is a bar/restaurant industry veteran who owns The Accompaniment Co. and is obsessed with all things pickled. Most importantly? She’s a wife and mom who wants to feed her family more healthful, wholesome, flavorful, and creative meals. Join her to share some of those meals and her small batch, local products with your family’s table.

read all of kim’s articles here.

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