I adored Turkey Tetrazzini long before I realized it was a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. The divine casserole was created in the early 20th century for the equally divine coloratura soprano, Luisa Tetrazzini at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel where the opera star was a long time resident. There are now many versions of this layered American casserole, the constants being pasta, mushrooms, butter, cream, Parmesan cheese and poultry. I gave Craig Claibourne’s Tetrazzini recipe, using chicken instead of turkey, in my 2010 cookbook, THE ENTREES. 

But now that my older daughter has lived for six years in New Orleans, I’ve come to appreciate anything Creole. Emeril Lagasse adds bell peppers and his special “Essence” (Creole seasoning) to the original as well as a potato chips topping for added crunch.

Turkey remains are great for sandwiches. Hash or just straight out of the fridge, but be sure to save enough to make this delicious classic. And when you eat it, think of poor Luisa who was less lucky in love than in song. Her last husband left her after running through her fortune and she took up the mantra, “I am old, I am fat, but I am still Tetrazzini.” In 1940, she died penniless in Milan, her funeral by necessity paid for  by the state. 


Turkey TetrazziniRecipe from “New New Orleans Cooking” by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William Morrow, 1993Serves 10
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chopped onions1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided1 teaspoon minced garlic1 pound white button mushrooms, ends trimmed, sliced1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves1/4 cup all-purpose flour1/4 cup dry white wine2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth1 3/4 cups heavy cream12 ounces wide egg noodles1 pound cubed or bite-size shredded roast turkey1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves1 1/2 teaspoons salt3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan1 (5 1/2-ounce) bag potato chips, crushed
Directions:
1. Saute the onions and bell peppers in 6 tablespoons butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the mushrooms, Essence, and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and chicken stock and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and very flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes.2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.4. Butter a 9 by 13-inch casserole or baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside.5. When the sauce has thickened, add the noodles, turkey, parsley, salt, black pepper, and Parmesan to the skillet and stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared casserole and top with the potato chips. Bake uncovered until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika2 tablespoons salt2 tablespoons garlic powder1 tablespoon black pepper1 tablespoon onion powder1 tablespoon cayenne pepper1 tablespoon dried oregano1 tablespoon dried thymeCombine all ingredients thoroughly.Yield: 2/3 cup
I adored Turkey Tetrazzini long before I realized it was a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. The divine casserole was created in the early 20th century for the equally divine coloratura soprano, Luisa Tetrazzini at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel where the opera star was a long time resident. There are now many versions of this layered American casserole, the constants being pasta, mushrooms, butter, cream, Parmesan cheese and poultry. I gave Craig Claibourne’s Tetrazzini recipe, using chicken instead of turkey, in my 2010 cookbook, THE ENTREES. 
But now that my older daughter has lived for six years in New Orleans, I’ve come to appreciate anything Creole. Emeril Lagasse adds bell peppers and his special “Essence” (Creole seasoning) to the original as well as a potato chips topping for added crunch.
Turkey remains are great for sandwiches. Hash or just straight out of the fridge, but be sure to save enough to make this delicious classic. And when you eat it, think of poor Luisa who was less lucky in love than in song. Her last husband left her after running through her fortune and she took up the mantra, “I am old, I am fat, but I am still Tetrazzini.” In 1940, she died penniless in Milan, her funeral by necessity paid for  by the state. 


Turkey Tetrazzini
Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking” by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William Morrow, 1993
Serves 10


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 pound white button mushrooms, ends trimmed, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
12 ounces wide egg noodles
1 pound cubed or bite-size shredded roast turkey
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 (5 1/2-ounce) bag potato chips, crushed

Directions:

1. Saute the onions and bell peppers in 6 tablespoons butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the mushrooms, Essence, and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and chicken stock and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and very flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

4. Butter a 9 by 13-inch casserole or baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside.

5. When the sauce has thickened, add the noodles, turkey, parsley, salt, black pepper, and Parmesan to the skillet and stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared casserole and top with the potato chips. Bake uncovered until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning:

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup