This sauce is a great way to use the small leftover bits from the bottom of the turkey platter. Chop up any additional breast meat or the dark meat that clings to the bone around the drumsticks, as well as any bits of skin. The wild mushroom and tomato sauce thickens nicely, and is ideal over whole wheat pasta or brown and wild rice. This sauce freezes well, so you can make it right after Thanksgiving to use your leftovers, then defrost it in the middle of winter when you’re hankering for a little quick comfort food.

8 servings


1 cup very hot water
½ ounce dried Porcini mushrooms
½ pound fresh wild mushrooms, sliced
½ pound button mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound chopped leftover roasted turkey (or 1 pound ground fresh turkey)
2 medium onions, diced
6 cups chicken broth
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup celery, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup cold water


Strainer lined with cheesecloth
Dutch oven


Reconstitute the dried Porcini in the hot water and allow them to soak for 15 minutes. Drain through several layers of cheesecloth in a strainer, reserving the soaking liquid. Gently rub the remaining fresh mushrooms with a paper towel to remove any grit or dirt. Chop the fresh mushrooms roughly and set aside.

[Chef’s Note: While others may recommend washing mushrooms in water, we prefer not to let them absorb additional water, as this requires longer cooking. Using a paper towel will get all the dirt off the surface.]

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. If using fresh ground turkey, sauté the turkey together with the onions, stirring until the turkey is very browned and beginning to caramelize on the bottom of the pan. Add ½ cup of the chicken stock and continue cooking over high heat until the liquid has evaporated.

[Chef’s Note: If using leftover chopped turkey, omit this first step, and begin the recipe by sautéing the onions until softened, then continue with the next steps below.]

Add the fresh mushrooms, diced carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 5 more minutes. Add the remaining 5 ½ cups of chicken broth, the tomato paste, half of the rosemary, half of the oregano, the reconstituted and chopped Porcini mushrooms and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid. [Chef’s Note: If using leftover chopped turkey, add it at this point.] Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the tomato paste. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until reduced by half.

Mix the cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce along with the remaining fresh herbs and simmer 2 minutes more or until thickened.


Serve the sauce hot over whole wheat pasta or a wild and brown rice mixture.

Recipe by Mark Tafoya


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