Ah, leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It’s a fact of life that we’ve all had to come to terms with. Some people love it; others can’t stand it and want nothing more than to get rid of it as soon as possible.

If you happen to fall into the latter category, here’s a recipe that isn’t turkey soup or turkey sandwiches, that’s sure to give those turkey naysayers something to look forward to.

Barley Risotto with Turkey and Mushrooms
Serves 4

4 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil, or a combination
1/2 cup chopped scallions or onion
1 cup pearl barley
1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 tsp dried, or 1 tbsp chopped fresh chervil, mint, dill or parsley
3 cups any stock or water, warmed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped cooked or raw turkey meat
1/4 lb shiitake mushrooms, caps only, sliced
chopped parsley leaves for garnish.

1. Put half the butter or oil in a medium to large skillet over medium high heat. When butter is melted or oil is hot, add scallions or onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add barley and cook, stirring, for a minute or so, until glossy; add herb, liquid and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

2. Turn heat down to low, cover and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until barley is tender (it will not become very soft) and liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, heat remaining butter or oil in skillet over medium high heat; cook turkey, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon, then cook mushrooms until crisp in same pan; remove.

3. Check barley’s progress: Continue to cook, if necessary, adding a tablespoon or two more liquid if all liquid has been absorbed and barley is not yet tender. Stir in turkey and mushrooms and continue to cook until all is hot and combined, then garnish and serve.

This recipe is by Mark Bittman and is from The New York Times, Wednesday, November 21, 2007

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