Turkey, Kale & Orzo Pasta

This past Easter I cooked a whole turkey.  Not something I usually do as it was just hubby and myself and I wasn’t able to get a small, breast only bird that we prefer (note to self, don’t wait until 2 days before Easter before buying what you really want).

The smallest bird I could find was just under 6 kg.  Still a sizable critter for just 2 people.  We were going to have plenty of leftovers, but at least I also would have a full carcass for the much beloved turkey stock.

With our tummies full of freshly cooked turkey, I disassembled the remainder, packing up leftover turkey into little bundles for the freezer, perfect amounts for 1 or 2 depending if hubs was home.  After processing the bones for stock and doling out containers of 1-2 cup sizes destined for the freezer as well, it was time to sit down and figure out what to do different with all this turkey we now had squirreled away.

2 separate pots of soup have already been made and frozen along with a couple meals of green chile turkey enchiladas, so it was time to think up something new, lest I get bored of eating the never-ending turkey meat.

I have been on a kale kick recently and wanted to incorporate kale into whatever I ended up making….and mushrooms, that is probably the numero uno must-have ingredient in just about everything I cook.  So I had kale, mushrooms and turkey…what else?  Pasta… but not a heavy pasta like penne or linguine.  Something small and light.  Orzo.  Just the ticket I thought.

So this is what I came up with.

Kale and OrzoTurkey, Kale & Orzo Pasta

1 1/2 Cups homemade turkey stock
1/2 Cup Orzo pasta
1 Cup cooked turkey meat, cubed/shredded
2 Cups torn kale (thick stem/ribs removed)
1/2 Cup chopped sweet white onion
1 clove garlic, mashed
2 Cups sliced button mushrooms
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup cherry tomatoes
Red pepper flakes (to taste, I like a zing to my pasta so added a lot)
Fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste
1 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a small saucepan, bring the turkey stock to a boil, add orzo, cover and reduce heat to a simmer and cook until al dente (5-6 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside ~ DO NOT DRAIN PASTA!

In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over med-high heat, add onions and cook for about 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms start to sweat their moisture.

Add kale, stirring for 2-3 minutes until the kale starts to wilt and is bright green. Add cherry tomatoes, chopped turkey, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Saute for another 2 minutes until the tomatoes start to blister and the turkey is heated through.

Add the reserved orzo in turkey stock and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings, remove from heat and serve immediately.

Garnish with parmesan and serve with a crusty, whole wheat baguette.

Start to finish, this meal is done in less than 30 minutes…my kinda meal!

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