I traveled to Morocco (and Mexico!) for the ingredients for today’s turkey leftovers transformation, a sweet and spicy tagine recipe that incorporates thigh meat, eggplant, dates, nuts, onions, garlic, galangal, pomegranate molasses, warm spices, homemade turkey broth and a brand new-to-me ingredient: the tejote.
My brother Alan and I were in the grocery store to pick up eggplants when we were lured in by the exotic scent of tejotes. This week I had already discovered persimmon, fall’s tomato, so I was feeling bullish on trying new fruits. Maybe I should have stopped while I was ahead. Not that these aren’t delicious, but it’s a bit arduous getting there, as these tiny fruits need to be peeled, have their stubborn pits removed, and then boiled to cook.
They are pretty, like tiny apricots, but they have a more tropical musky perfume and a firmer texture, more like jackfruit. I may try to make the “ponche” now that I have leftover tejotes. This leftover thing never ends! If you don’t have time, you can just add more dates, or throw a diced apple in with the onions step.
To make the tagine, I started by bisecting two eggplants and scoring them so I could scoop the uncooked cubes out. Then I drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and cooked in a 375-degree oven for 15 minutes; till almost done but not slumpy.
While that’s going, saute your onions, dates, garlic and galangal or ginger in fat of some kind (I used turkey schmaltz that I harvested on Thanksgiving.)
Next add the pomegranate molasses and turkey broth, along with the spices and the eggplant. Stir for 5-10 minutes as the eggplant cooks and the liquids all meld and reduce into a sauce. Next, add the cubed turkey leftovers, chopped herbs and, if you went on the crazy tejote journey with me, the pre-boiled tejotes.
Once everything is coated in the sauce, scoop into your prepared eggplant shells and send them into the 375 oven for 5 more minutes. Top the eggplants with toasted, chopped walnuts and pecans and drizzle with additional pomegranate molasses if you like it a little sweeter.
Eggplants Stuffed with Turkey and Tejote Tagine
2 cups of cubed leftover turkey, preferably thigh meat
1/2 cup of pitted dates, chopped large
1 large onion, cut into larger cubes
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 inch of galangal or ginger if you can’t find galangal, peeled and fine chopped
1 TB salt
1 tsp Seven Spice
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
4 TB pomegranate molasses
1 cup homemade turkey broth
1 cup of peeled, pitted and boiled tejotes (or 1 cored and peeled apple, added with the onions)
1/2 cup walnuts and pecans or whatever nuts you have, toasted and chopped lightly.
2 TB turkey schmaltz (or olive oil)
Heat your fat in a wok or large skillet. Add the onions, dates, galangal or ginger, salt, pepper and seven spice. (If you are substituting an apple for the tejotes put the apple in here.) When onions are getting close, add broth and molasses and stir everything together. Then add the eggplant cubes you pulled out of the eggplant shells. Cook on medium until the eggplant is close…like 10 minutes. Then throw in the turkey and warm it through. Finally, add the tejotes.
Then scoop into the eggplant shells, bake for 5 more minutes at 375, and top with chopped parsley, cilantro and chopped nuts to serve.
Yesterday’s leftover turkey: Turkey Tom Kha Gai
Tomorrow’s leftover turkey: Not sure!