Turkey soup with mashed-potato dumplings: 9 cents/serving

Not counting gravy, we had six side dishes this year at Thanksgiving, plus one appetizer. Mercifully, mashed potatoes and cranberry relish were the only sides that weren’t either eaten in their entirety (the latter because I…um…forgot to put it out completely) or taken home by family members.

Of course, mashed potatoes just happen to be the most inconvenient leftover possible. They’re gluey, they’re heavy, they can’t be eaten right out of the container while standing in front of the fridge…yet they have to be used somehow.

I considered biscuits, I considered shepherd’s pie, and I considered some kind of soufflé, but ultimately this idea won out because it consists entirely of leftovers, save for some salt, parsley from the garden, and less than a cup of flour.

The idea was to combine these leftover buttermilk mashed potatoes with just a little bit of flour as a binder, then roll them out and cook them like gnocchi. The rolling out was a little dicey, but like most dumplings and pastas, imperfection has little bearing on the final product. Some were torn, some were balled-up, and some were ugly, but they tasted…well…a lot like gnocchi, except larger and more flavorful. If you have leftover mashed potatoes you’d otherwise be throwing out, I highly recommend giving it a try.

As below, it serves two. You could also substitute chicken stock/meat.

• 1-2 quarts leftover turkey stock (depending on the size of your bowls): $0
• 1 cup leftover turkey meat: $0
• 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes: $0
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour: 8 cents
• Salt, to taste: 9 cents
• Parsley, from garden: $0
TOTAL: 17 cents/2 = 9 cents 

Pretty simple here, folks:

Heat the turkey stock to a boil and reduce to a simmer, add salt to taste. Make sure it’s good-quality stock and really seasoned properly, because it’s where the majority of the flavor will come from.

Combine the mashed potatoes and flour in a bowl, add salt to taste. Knead together until a cohesive dough forms. Add more flour if necessary. The dough should’t be stiff, but it shouldn’t fall apart, either. On a four-dusted cutting board, roll out the dough as best you can (it will be sticky) and cut into 2-inch squares.

Prepare two bowls with equal servings of turkey meat. Drop dumplings into the simmering turkey stock. When they float, remove them to the bowls with the turkey. Pour stock over, garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.

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