Utilizing leftover, cooked poultry in stews/chili : AskCulinary

Apologies if this is long-winded.

I’m trying to reconstruct this “thanksgiving leftover” turkey chili recipe that I remember making a few years ago. I don’t have the recipe itself, but I’m attempting to read a bunch of similar recipes online to put together an idea of how to get it right.

Specifically I’m looking at shredded turkey, not ground. And given that it comes from already-cooked leftovers, it would be a combination of white and dark meat, with the white meat perhaps already being a little dried out.

Many of the recipes that I’ve found which start with uncooked turkey generally do something like:

  1. brown drumsticks

  2. create the chili base, put in whole drumsticks and simmer for 1+ hours

  3. pull drumsticks out and shred them

  4. put everything back in, maybe add beans, and cook for another 30+ minutes

The other ones start by just listing “cooked, shredded turkey” as an ingredient (are they fork-shredding it cold?) and then have everything generally mixed in at the start and simmered less than an hour.

I’m wondering a few things:

  • What am I loosing by not being able to brown the meat like in the uncooked recipes? Is it nuttyness? Can I do something to compensate for that?

  • Is it going to be better to try and shred my cooked meat before adding it in? What about cooking it with the chili for 20 minutes, removing and shredding, then returning to cook for a while longer?

  • How concerned to I need to be about overcooking the already-cooked meat? I know it usually takes a really long time to overcook meat while slow-cooking it like that, but does it matter that it’s partly white meat (less fats & connective tissue)? Where are the boundaries for collagen breakdown and for “over-stewing” for poultry?

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