I was a vegatarian for over 25 years, therefore cooking with vegetables comes easily to me, so much so that it often doesn’t occur to me to add meat to a meal. I first starting eating meat again when we raised our own pigs and now I rarely buy it as our freezer is usually stuffed full of our own produce.
For Christmas dinner I planned to roast a joint of our Dexter beef but my mother surprised us with a hamper containing a turkey, so I thought why not?
I didn’t want to spend the big day cooking so I roasted the bird on Christmas eve and we had “leftovers” in the form of a turkey sandwich for our tea before we even got to the festive dinner.
On Boxing day, we had the usual cold meat and pickles but of course there was still plenty of turkey left and lots of recipes to choose from.
I settled on a turkey curry. Under normal circumstances, I would make this dish with just vegetables. It’s quick, simple and since you can use up any veg that you have laying around, usually very cheap.
Indian food was not something I ate a lot of, but in the last few years I have been experimenting with spices and this is my very favourite combination – the turmeric gives it a beautiful golden colour and if I have any goat’s cream languishing in the fridge, I add a touch at the end of cooking. The dish goes down well with or without meat.
A thrifty curry
- Leftover turkey (or any meat raw or cooked)
- 1 large onion
- 2-3 medium carrots
- 2 parsnips (or any veg)
- 1/4 cup of red lentils
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 small piece of chilli (or 1/4 tsp of chilli powder)
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek
- 1/8 tsp asafoetida
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 litre stock plus extra liquid as required
- 50 ml double cream
- Heat oil in a frying pan, add the onion and fry until softened. If using uncooked meat add that to the pan now and brown.
- Add the carrots and continue to fry until slightly softened, then add the parsnip (or other veg).
- Next add all the spices starting with the garlic and chilli and followed by all the dried spices and salt.
- Give it a good stir and allow to fry for several minutes, making sure everything is coated. Don’t let it burn.
- Tip in the lentils and stir again.
- Add the stock, put a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for at least 15 minutes or until all the meat is cooked, vegetables are soft and so are the lentils.
- More water can be added if it begins to dry out.
- If you are using cooked meat now is the time to add it to the pan. Keep simmering and make sure it is thoroughly heated through.
- Add more water if necessary so that there is a fair bit of liquid in the pan.
- Finally add the cream, stir well and bring up to the boil.
- Leave the lid off the pan and simmer until the sauce thickens.
- Serve immediately with rice or naan bread.