This is my tricky way of killing two birds with one stone: 1. using up my leftovers and using meats my family doesn’t find appealing like tongue, heart and tail. My family doesn’t eat dark turkey meat, but I’m not about to let that stop me from making good use of the whole bird. Shredding the meat and the paprika & tomato disguise the meat color and make the dark meat something everyone enjoys.

Leftover cooked turkey or chicken – approx 2 – 3 cups, pulled or blitzed in a food processor. Take care to NOT puree if using the food processor.


  • 2 TBS lard or olive oil
  • 1 pound of white onions, finely chopped
  • 1 TBS sweet paprika
  • 1 TBS smoked paprika* if available, otherwise sweet
  • 1 TBS tomato paste plus scant 1/2 cup water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper



  1. Melt the lard or oil in a heavy skillet and add the onions. Cook gently, stirring occasionally until the onions are nicely softened and translucent. Do not brown.
  2. Add all the paprika, stir in well and cook for a few more minutes. Add the meat, tomato paste and water. Bring to a very gentle simmer and cover. Cook over the lowest possible heat for at least 30 minutes, adding water if needed. To use as filling, you need the mixture to be fairly dry – too saucy and it won’t stay inside pastry or dumplings.
  3. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
I use this to stuff pierogi recipe for both poaching and baking. It can be tossed with egg noodles, baked into buns, mixed with rice or bulgur and stuffed into peppers – the uses are limited only by your imagination.  A little goes a long way, so freeze what you don’t use for later stuffing.
* I have tried and tried, but do not love smoked paprika.  I LOVE sweet paprika, so next time I’ll use all sweet or half sweet and half hot.