Turkey Vadouvan Curry

Turkey vadouvan curry over brown rice with cilantro garnish
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The age old question “what to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers” has been answered. I present to you a Turkey Vadouvan Curry, using up not just that leftover turkey, but also butternut squash. I also include tips to make this recipe any time of the year with chicken or turkey, or make it vegan with chickpeas!

Jump to Recipe

I first discovered Vadouvan when my husband and I took a cooking class at Cakebread Cellars with their head chef, Brian Streeter. We made a heavenly vadouvan spiced quail that really opened my eyes to the potential for creatively incorporating curry into a broader range of dishes.

What is vadouvan curry? Vadouvan is a French curry blend, similar to its better known cousin. But in addition to the traditional cumin, coriander, pepper, turmeric and cardamom, a vadouvan curry blend has added shallots and garlic. The result is a beautiful, aromatic and slightly milder curry flavor… you’re welcome. It certainly can be substituted with regular curry, but I do recommend searching out a proper vadouvan curry. I order mine from World Spice Merchants in Seattle (side note: the chef at Cakebread Cellars suggests ordering from them too!).

Making the Curry

This curry is so simple to make, especially with leftovers. Jump to the Tips section for thoughts on how to make this any time of year. It’s still simple, just a few minutes longer. An important note on the red curry paste; not all brands are created equal! Some include a shrimp paste… I use the Thai Kitchen brand because it is shellfish free. Be sure to check all labels!

Start by warming the oil in a medium dutch oven or sauce pan with a lid over medium heat. Add the vadouvan and saute for 1-2 minutes, until darker in color and very fragrant. Add the red curry paste, tomato paste, garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes. If using raw butternut squash, add to the pan along with the broth and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped turkey and coconut milk and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until squash is fork tender. If using leftover, cooked, butternut squash, add with the turkey and coconut milk and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Salt the dish to taste, at least 1/4 teaspoon. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Turkey Vadouvan Curry Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vadouvan curry (can substitute traditional curry)
  • 1 tsp red curry paste, (Thai Kitchen brand if you have shellfish allergy)
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cups chopped uncooked butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup gluten free broth
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • cilantro for garnish

Turkey Vadouvan Curry Instructions

  1. Warm the olive oil in a medium dutch oven or large saute pan with a lid over medium heat. Add the vadouvan and cook, stirring constantly, until dark brown and very fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the curry paste, tomato paste, garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash and broth and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the turkey and coconut milk and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
  5. Add in salt, adding more to taste.
  6. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro

Recipe Tips and Ideas

  • Chicken: if using uncooked chicken, substitute with 1.5 pounds of raw chicken breast. Chop the chicken into 1/2 inch cubes, season with salt and pepper and add with the butternut squash
  • Chickpeas: Make it vegan! substitute the turkey with 2 cans of rinsed chickpeas. Add them in as you would with the cooked turkey in step 4
  • Leftover squash: have some leftover squash that’s already cooked, no problem! Skip step #3 and add the cooked squash with the turkey and coconut milk. You’ll still want some broth, but cut it to half a cup
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