The Gleeful Gourmand: Leftovers, Glorious Leftovers!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leftovers, Glorious Leftovers!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and by now, your leftovers have mostly been consumed. But for a large portion of Americans, Thanksgiving Part Deux is just one month away - at Christmastime. Yes, it's hard to believe, but a significant amount of home cooks simply redo their Thanksgiving dinners when it comes to Christmas dinner. Before all you foodies get up in arms about that ("Amateurs," you may sniff), there's definitely a precedent for it. After all, what would Christmas be without the superb, silky vocals of Nat King Cole singing, "Everybody knows, a turkey and some to make the season bright"?

The turkey is, forgive the pun my runner readers, trotted out once again. I don't necessarily think that's such a bad thing. How many times have we said to each other after the last of the Thanksgiving turkey is gone, "We should roast turkeys more often. Why don't we do that?" Oh yeah, because it's a lot of work. It's special. I bought our bird from Whole Foods to make sure it was organic and free-roaming, and also ordered up to ensure leftovers. We brined ours this year overnight and spent an inordinate amount of time tending and taking care of it (Nigella Lawson's Spiced and Super-Juicy Roast Turkey). That's not something you just toss in the oven any old night of the week.

Brined. Organic. Fabulous.

But I digress. These days it seems that as much attention is paid to what you should do with your leftovers, as it is to the Great Feast itself. I've had turkey stews, turkey soups, been witness to lots of interesting turkey casseroles, and made turkey hash the next morning myself. The most unique and fun leftover use was done by my husband's cousins in Hawaii. His cousin Alice made a huge turkey curry the day after Thanksgiving with a bar set up full of toppings and fixings. The wine and conversation flowed, and it was delicious and fun, like the holiday just kept rolling on.

It was also wonderful because the only thing I had to do was show up and hold my glass out to be filled. But what do I really like to do with my turkey leftovers? Apparently I most like to be like everyone else in America. According to a survey done on the Food Network, I am just like 80% of viewers.

I like to make a turkey sandwich the day after.

I know, how boring is that, right? But it's not. It's something I dream about. After working so hard the day before and making everything perfect, my day after perfect is very simple: Slightly toasted WhiteWheat bread. Both sides slathered with Hellman's Mayonnaise. I don't eat mayonnaise often, but when I do, it has to be Hellman's. I hear all you Southern cooks crying foul that I don't use Duke's, but I stand firm. Hellman's it is. Freshly cracked pepper on both sides. And turkey piled high (just the white meat, I'm not a fan of dark meat). No embellishments. No arugula to give it punch and crunch. Nothing except the ingredients listed above. It's my perfect sandwich, and the only way I want to eat my turkey after the feasting is done. With maybe a dollop of my Mom's Cranberry and Orange Relish on the side. Everything else pales in comparison. Pales in comparison to a sandwich! Yes, I know how silly that sounds.

So how about you, readers? What's your most favorite way of using leftovers from Thanksgiving? Leave it in the comments!


Kirsten Oliphant said...

Usually I have a turkey sandwich, but this year I forgot. So, clearly I'm not dreaming about it as much as you are! Generally I kind of love and loathe the leftovers. We ate two separate meals, so I was kind of stuffing-ed out. We fried one turkey, and I have to say it was one of the best things ever. Rob injected it with a citrus concoction and oh my word. Oh. My. Word. But there is something smarmy to me about the leftovers.

Also, in the photo, your turkey looks like he's laying spread-eagle, saying, "How you doin."

Alison said...

I also looove leftovers from Thanksgiving. We actually purchase bacon to add to the leftover Thanksgiving club sandwiches that we have the next day. As delicious as your simple and clean turkey sandwich sounds, we go to the far end of the spectrum when making our leftover sandwiches. Our sandwiches are thick with turkey, stuffing, cheese (to keep everything stuck together), bacon, and then we grill them in the George Foreman so they eat like a panini. Evan adds gravy as well to his... Drew leaves off the stuffing... but it's tradition to have those sandwiches.
I also have an "impossible turkey pie" recipe that I'll pull out if we have "too" many leftovers... turkey, swiss cheese, scallions, and a bisquick concoction that makes a pie-like casserole. The guys love it... I do NOT... so I usually make that on a night when I'm not joining them for dinner (or I'll just make some soup instead). Made Turkey a la King this year and poured it over baked "stuffing muffins" that was good as well. Love knowing someone else relies on that day-after sandwich for the holidays! xoxo

Elizabeth said...

This posting and comments made me hungry. Where's the turkey?!

Jenna said...

Lol, Liz, I was thinking the same thing after reading Ali's comment!! Ali, you are so creative with your leftovers! I'm impressed. Kiki - I have never wanted to try a fried turkey - until I read your comment. I would try it as long as I could have the one Rob made.

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