Arroz De Peru (Baked Turkey Rice Casserole)

The day after Thanksgiving dilemma: what to do with the leftover Turkey?  There are only so many sandwiches you can eat and so many turkey pot pies your family will endure before they order out for food.  I came up with an easy alternative that won’t take you too long to make: Baked Turkey Rice Casserole.  Classic Portuguese cuisine features a rich dish made of duck and rice.  The dish originated in Braga at a monastery that cooked the meal for the poorest families and townsfolk from the village.  It is one of the most iconic dishes in the Portuguese culinary repertoire.   The duck is boiled with onions, carrots, garlic, celery and bay leaves (sometimes Vinho Do Porto) to create a rich broth that you eventually use to cook the rice.  The duck is then cooked with more vegetables and other ingredients and this is used as a filling for what eventually becomes baked rice casserole.  I have substituted Turkey here which is very close to the flavor and texture of duck.  In the interest of time I have omitted making the Turkey stock from scratch since it is likely that the Turkey is already cooked from the previous day’s festivities.    If you have leftover Turkey stock for the Thanksgiving stuffing (as my recipe for Thanksgiving meal on this site indicates) you can use this or otherwise just make chicken stock.  If you are in a real pinch use the store brought variety although the flavor won’t be as good.  I  I brush the top with egg wash because it makes the top layer of rice super crispy.  I like to serve with some good Portuguese bread and a side salad.

 

Arooz de Peru (Baked Turkey Rice Casserole)
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Arooz de Peru (Baked Turkey Rice Casserole)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup Portuguese olive oil
  • 1 Onion finely diced
  • 4 Carrots peeled and finely diced
  • 3 Celery stalks trimmed and finely diced
  • 1 lb mushrooms
  • 4 cups Converted Rice
  • 8 cups of homemade turkey or chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup Portuguese black olives pitted and sliced
  • Left over Thanksgiving turkey shredded or cut into small bite size chunks
  • 1 Portuguese courico (sausage) (if you cannot find Portuguese chourico substitute other smoked sausage like andouille or kielbasa). Reserve a portion of the chourico and cut it very thinly lengthwise. In a pinch you could use Hickory Smoked Spam. I have in the past and it comes out pretty good.
  • 1.5 cups diced toucinho (Portuguese slab bacon) or alternatively 1 cup thick sliced low sodium bacon cut into ¼ inch chunks
  • 1 cup Parsley finely chopped
  • ½ cup butter or margarine to coat the roasting pan (for a really rich version use rendered chicken fat)
  • 4 eggs beaten with a little water
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat an oven to 375 degrees. Cook the rice with the stock and bay leaves and set aside. In a large wide pot heat the olive oil and cook the toucinho (or bacon if using) until it just starts to become crispy. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté for about 10 minutes. Be careful not to overcook and burn them or else this will impart a bitter taste. Add the mushrooms and cook until they have given off their moisture and begin to shrink and wilt. Add the chourico and cook until the sausage is cooked through. Stir in the parsley and olives and mix again . Take off the heat. Coat a roasting pan with the butter, margarine or chicken fat (if using). Pour half the rice into the roasting pan making sure to spread it evenly so it reaches all sides. Pour the entire meat mixture over the rice and then cover this with the remaining rice. Pat the rice flat so it is snug and tight in the pan. Brush the top with the egg and distribute the reserved thinly sliced chourico on top as decoration. Place in the oven for about half an hour or until the rice has browned slightly and the courico is nice and crisp. If the chourico or rice brown to quickly place aluminum foil on top. Serve hot with some warm Portuguese bread and a salad.
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