Sliced Turkey with Paprika Tomato Sauce


We didn’t host Thanksgiving dinner this year, so I didn’t have any turkey leftovers the following day. With only one day of turkey feasting under my belt, I found I was wanting more, so I cooked a turkey breast this past weekend to fulfill my craving.

The first night we enjoyed a very straightforward dinner of roast turkey with gravy. But last night I wanted to serve it with a twist. Looking around in my fridge and pantry I came up with this simple sauce.

You can follow the recipe exactly, or you can take some of my ideas, use the basic technique I outline, and make your own sauce using whatever you have on hand.

Paprika Tomato Sauce for Poultry

Makes 1-1 1/4 cups sauce


2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons minced onion*
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika**
1/4 cup poultry gravy***
1/4 cup red wine
1 cup tomato puree, diced tomatoes, or whatever type you have on hand
1 teaspoon fresh dill or good pinch dry
2 tablespoons cream****
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon rind, grated rind of 1/4 small lemon
several drops of lemon juice
salt and pepper


Warm the butter in a small saucepan. Add the minced onion and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the paprika and cook and stir for several minutes until the mixture becomes fragrant. Add the gravy, red wine, and tomato puree. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes or so. Taste. You want the flavors to have begun to meld and soften. You don’t want to taste raw wine at this point. Add the dill, lemon rind, and cream. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer once again, and then taste again. 

Add lemon juice, salt and pepper as desired, to taste.I use fresh lemon juice in most sauces and soups. It brightens the flavors. Then you need to balance the lemon juice with salt. It is a back and forth of using a few drops of lemon and then a bit of salt until you find the flavor balance that most appeals to you.

I served this sauce over sliced turkey. It would also be complement chicken, veal, or pork.

*I used red onion because that is what I had on hand, but any kind of onion would work and add something different to the flavor. 

**I used Spanish, sweet, smoked paprika, but any good quality paprika will be fine. Your paprika should be fragrant out of the jar or can. If there is no aroma, it will not add flavor to your sauce. Again, each type, smoked or not, hot or sweet, will add its own unique flavor twist. It’s best to sauté all the dry spices in butter or oil in order to cook out the raw taste of the powdered spice.

***I had leftover gravy so I added it, but chicken stock or water would work as well.

****Adding a small amount of cream to a tomato sauce really softens the acid in the sauce and provides a wonderful enrichment.

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