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Gail’s Turkey Tacos is a recipe that was a traditional meal for using up Thanksgiving leftovers in my husband’s family home created by his Tex-Mex cooking mom, Gail Austin. Now they are a traditional after Thanksgiving meal for us as well, but we love them anytime. The savory filling for this recipe really freezes well so I like to make more than we need and freeze some for when we are having one of those “I miss that turkey left-overs” treat. I’m not sure why they called them “tacos” as they are really more enchilada like.
Gail, who passed in 2000, a day after our last celebration together for Thanksgiving, would only use Gebhardt Chili Powder. She was a true Texan and insisted there is “no substitute”. But in all honesty, and with apologies to my MIL, I have used other brands and the results have always turned out fine. That said, you must use chili powder in this, not fresh ground chili, as the other ingredients in the powder add additional flavor.
Chili powder is a combination of chilies (generally a mild chili like California or New Mexico, garlic powder, with a touch of cumin and oregano. The main variances you will find will be the type of chili pepper used, so I have found some to be darker and richer than Gebhardt.
I’m not sure why they called them “tacos” as they are really more enchilada like.
Gail’s Turkey Tacos are best when made with the dark meat, although some white meat could be included. I have also made these using ground turkey with good success when I don’t have any leftovers to use. So don’t feel like you have to cook up a whole turkey to enjoy these!
Shred the turkey; set aside.Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet; add the onion and garlic; saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour; saute for a few minutes; add the tomatoes and half the stock, stir well. Add the spices and simmer 10 minutes. Add the turkey and enough stock to cover; simmer 15 minutes. Taste; adjust seasonings and add additional stock, if necessary.
Meanwhile, brush the tortillas with some olive oil; place on a cookie sheet and set in a 325°F oven until they become pliable, about 2 - 3 minutes. Dip a tortilla into the simmering sauce; place on an individual warmed plate. Using a slotted spoon, fill with a portion of the turkey mixture; roll the tortilla to resemble an enchilada, continue, filling and rolling (2 - 3 rolled "tacos" per plate). Once all the tortillas are filled, spoon additional sauce and turkey over the top. Top with shredded lettuce, avocado slices and a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
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