Curried Turkey Hash Cakes

When Mississippi-born Craig Claiborne used to come to my home for Thanksgiving dinner, the first words he’d utter at the door were, “Save me a few slices of turkey breast for sandwiches and some dark meat to make my mamma’s hash.” Sometimes I think Southerners roast a turkey mainly to use the leftovers in all sorts of soups, stews, salads, hashes, casseroles, croquettes, gumbos, and Lord knows what else. Leftover turkey dishes almost constitute a cuisine in itself. Different types of curried hashes are prevalent in the Carolina Lowcountry and Louisiana and Mississippi bayous, but the idea of turning ordinary turkey hash into crusty cakes like those made with crabmeat is my own.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium boiling potatoes, peeled, boiled till very tender, and roughly chopped
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 large eggs, 2 beaten
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fine bread crumbs
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons vegetable oil

Method

In a mixing bowl, mash the potatoes to a purée with a potato masher or fork, add 4 tablespoons of the butter in pieces, and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer till smooth and the butter is completely absorbed.

In a blender or food processor, grind the turkey, onions, celery, and bell pepper to a medium texture and transfer to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the whole egg and stir till well blended. Add the cream, salt, pepper, and curry powder and beat well till the mixture is smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes to firm up the texture and allow the flavors to develop.

Shape the hash into oval cakes, dust each evenly in the flour, dip in the beaten eggs, roll in the bread crumbs, and chill 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining butter with the oil in a large, heavy skillet, add the cakes, and cook on both sides over moderate heat till golden brown and crusty, about 10 minutes in all.