Today, when many of you are swamped with the leftovers from one single turkey, to put your problem into proportion, I give you a fine tale from yesterday’s source, The Greedy Book; a gastronomical anthology (1906.)
“There is a most delectable little part of the turkey which the French euphoniously call le sot l’ y laisse. Grimod de la Reyniere, the celebrated gourmet, was wont to say that it was the most exquisite morsel of flesh in the world. Travelling one day some miles from his country-seat, he pulled up at a roadside inn for dinner. The host regretted that he had nothing to offer the stranger. "But," said the latter, "I see five turkeys hanging up there. Why not give me one of them? " The innkeeper was sorry, but they were all ordered by a gentleman staying in the house. "Surely he cannot want them all himself. Ask him to permit me to share his meal." Again the innkeeper had to refuse. The gentleman in question was very particular. He only ate one tiny little piece from each bird - le sot l’ y laisse, in fact. More anxious than ever to know who this rival gourmet was who had the same tastes as himself, de la Reyniere insisted on making his acquaintance. He found it was his own son.”
The name le sot l’ y laisse indicates, more or less (I think), that only a fool would not eat this part. It is the tiny nugget of flesh found on each side of the spine, in a hollow near the hip joint. It ‘shells out’ from its little spot quite neatly, and this, and it size, are probably responsible for one of its common names in English, when the fowl is a chicken not a turkey, – the chicken oyster.
Here are a couple of ideas for your turkey remnants on this fine Boxing Day, from The Cook’s Own Book, (1832) by Mrs. N.K. M. Lee:-
TURKEY, HASHED. (1) Cut up the remains of a roasted turkey, put it into a stewpan, with a glass of white wine, chopped parsley, shallots, mushrooms, truffles, salt and pepper, two spoonfuls of cullis,, and a little stock; boil half an hour, and reduce to a thick sauce; when ready, add a pound of anchovy, and a squeeze of lemon; skim off all the fat from the sauce, and serve all together.
TURKEY, HASHED. (2) Stir a piece of butter rolled in flour into some cream, and a little veal gravy, till it boils up; mince some cold roasted or boiled turkey, but not too small; put it into the sauce, add grated lemon-peel, white pepper, pounded mace, a little mushroom ketchup or mushroom powder; simmer it up, and serve. Oysters may be added.