Here’s the truth. Despite all the recipes in the back of my cozy mysteries – 51 so far, believe it or not, and no, I don’t believe it – I’m not really a cook. I enjoy baking but rarely get to do it. And I’ve found the adage that those who like to bake aren’t fond of cooking and vice versa, to be true.
That being said, I have come up with a few recipes I’m truly proud of. So today, in honor of the holiday about to be upon us, I share one of them with you.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from a Pampered Chef party I hosted two decades ago. For hosting, I was gifted with a few great kitchen gadgets, plus a recipe booklet that included sort of a strudel-y one made of crescent roll dough and stuffed with apples, raisins, etc. The following Thanksgiving, I was staring into a refrigerator of leftovers when a lightbulb went off for me. Why not sub out the apples and raisins for turkey day leftovers? Thus “Turkey Dinner in a Braid” was born. (Note: if you subscribe to my newsletter, you’re probably sick of this recipe. Sorry!)
It’s remarkably easy to make and people get a real kick out of it. The only tricky part is making sure the dough underneath the filling cooks without burning the dough on top. But my feeling is, if the bottom dough isn’t cooked enough, just toss it out. (Which is why you can tell I’m not a real chef like the Chick’s own Leslie Karst, who would potchke with the recipe until she figured out to get both the top and the bottom crust to cook perfectly.)
Anyhoo, here’s the recipe. Happy Thanksgiving! (Oh, and for the dinner we’re invited to on Thanksgiving day, I’m making pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, and pecan cobbler. Told you I like to bake.)
TURKEY DINNER IN A BRAID
2 crescent roll packages
2 cups turkey chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli, peas, or string beans
1 cup diced potatoes or mashed potatoes (optional)
1 cup stuffing
2 teaspoons gravy
½ cup cranberry sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
1 egg white, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons French-fried onions (the kind you use in a green bean casserole)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the turkey, gravy, mayonnaise and cranberry sauce together in a medium bowl.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhand on each side.
Open and unroll the crescent roll doughs one at a time. Arrange the first horizontally across the width of the pan toward the top, then lay the second one below it, and seal them both together either with a rolling pin or clean fingers.
Cut the long sides of the dough into strips about 3” deep and 1 ½” wide. Important: you want to leave around 6” in the center for the filling, so adjust the strips accordingly.
Spoon the turkey mixture evenly over the middle section of dough. Layer on top of the turkey: the stuffing, potatoes (if you choose to use them), and your green vegetable.
To braid the dough, lift the first two strips across from each other so that they meet in the center, twist each strip once, and then lay them both down on the filling. (You may have to pull or pinch the dough a bit to stretch it.) Continue to do this until you’ve twisted all the strips. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect. Tuck the ends of the braid up to seal it on both ends. Brush the braid with the egg white, and sprinkle with the French-fried onions.
Bake 20-30 minutes, until a deep golden brown.
You can either serve it on the cookie tray, or lift up both sides of the parchment paper to gently move the braid onto a serving dish.
Readers, do you have holiday recipe you’re proud of? Share it with us!