Thursday, April 19, 2012

Recipe: Curried Turkey Pasta Salad

I say 20 words in English. I say money, money, money, and I say hot dog! I say yes, no and I say money, money, money and I say turkey sandwich and I say grape juice. – Carmen Miranda 

A Carmen Miranda look-alike contest, San Francisco, 2010. Photo: thaths, Flickr ccl
That's an odd quote, eh? I guess I'm on a roll with the turkey…not that the turkey has made it onto a roll, but I have, or do I mean I am… That quote confused me. Regardless, here's another way to use up some of that leftover turkey.

Pasta salad can be served hot or cold. In this case, with the leftover turkey it's cold, but I've made it with fresh cooked chicken and even sautéed seafood, both served warm. I sort of like warm pasta salads better than cold. But I can "choke down" either. 

The basic ingredients in warm and cold are the same. Essentially it's mayo, sour cream, curry, pasta shells, fruit and nuts. What sort of fruit and nuts is up to you and what you think would taste good. Another common ingredient is Dijon mustard (instead of the curry).

I've made chicken pasta salad with grapes as well. Grapes and apples–fruits in general actually—seem to be exceptionally good paired with curry for whatever reason. 

I first encountered a salad similar to this at a small luncheon place in the basement of a local mall, Spring Garden Place. At the time they were one of a few lunch spots that had slightly more "daring" options from which to choose. It's funny to think that this was even considered out of the norm back then. I assume it was the curry (how foreign!!). 

That was many, many years ago… Luckily in the ensuing time Halifax has become a true city as opposed to a country backwater. We may not have ethnic 'towns" like more major centres, but we do have at least "one of everything" so we can purchase and enjoy pretty much anything the world has to offer. Even here on the east coast.

I'm not saying this dish is the end-all be-all of wondrous cuisine, but it does make a more than tolerable dinner and enough food for at least six people.

As far as ingredients in this recipe, I do have to admit, this may be one case where you can get away with using low-fat mayonnaise and low fat sour cream. They're used more as a tart tasting "binder" than anything else. So if you want to cheap out on the fat, feel free.

This is a great recipe for a backyard gathering since it can be done even a day or two in advance. You may have to add a little more sour cream and mayo before serving, but where's the harm in that?

Curried Turkey Pasta Salad
Time: 20 min  |  Serves 6
3/4 lb (375 g) medium pasta shells
2-1/2 cups chopped leftover turkey
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons hot sweet chutney
1 rounded tbsp curry powder, or to taste
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
2/3 cup walnut pieces
2/3 cup cup dried currants (or dried cranberries)
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain well.

Chop the turkey, apple, celery and onion into fairly fine pieces. Place in a bowl. Add the walnuts and currants.

Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, chutney and curry powder and pour into the other ingredients. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well.

Serve on romaine or lettuce leaves, for that added festive touch!


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