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The Cookstr 10: Ten Thanksgiving Leftovers

November 27, 2009

We know, we know…you can’t bear to think about food right now. You’re so full that you never ever want to see another piece of…wait, is that the last piece of pie hiding in the back of the fridge? Well, just a sliver couldn’t hurt. Ooh, there’s the container of leftover whipped cream. Were you going to eat that bit of stuffing? No, no, if you want it, go ahead. Where’s that pumpkin bread that Rachael brought? A slice of that would be nice with coffee. Oh, just put it all out, and we’ll pick.

Some Thanksgiving leftovers are highly self-explanatory, and should just be enjoyed as they are, cold or reheated. Others present more of a challenge; notably that unwieldy carcass that’s taking up half your refrigerator, the quart of gravy, and those cold clumps of mashed potatoes…and why do we always make too much cranberry sauce? So, here are ten recipes for when you’re ready to turn on the stove again, and turn your leftovers into a brand new meal.

1. James Beard’s Curried Leftover Turkey. After you’ve had your fill of all-American dishes, some new flavors are quite welcome. This recipes puts both leftover turkey and leftover gravy to good use, and you’ll be amazed at what a couple of tablespoons of curry powder and the freshness of some chopped fruits and vegetables can do.

2. Marion Cunningham’s Turkey Soup. This recipe is so cool because it makes use of so many different leftovers from the Thanksgiving meal. Turkey? Check. Stuffing? Check. Gravy? Check. It’s like reliving your entire Thanksgiving meal in one bowl, minus the crazy relatives.

3. Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso’s Turkey Croquettes. The word croquettes is so charmingly old-fashioned, but they’re nothing more than little moist and luscious patties of light and dark turkey chunks, egg, bread, onion, and parsley. Really simple (just fling everything into the food processor and then cook them up), and so delicious topped with leftover gravy.

4. Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s Turkey Hash with Chestnuts. Make this dish and you’ll feel like you’ve created a virtual diner right in your own home. If you’ve roasted chestnuts for your stuffing, you’ll want to set some aside for this hash.

5. Sally Schneider’s Mashed Potato Cake. It’s likely that you’ll have leftover mashed potatoes (full disclosure: we make extra just for this purpose), and here’s where they should be headed. Serve wedges of this crusty savory cake as a side dish with just about any meat, chicken or fish. This recipe employs a cool technique of sprinkling a hot, lightly buttered nonstick pan with a little grated Parmesan, which melts and forms a crust on the outside of the potato cake.

6. Joyce Goldstein’s Farro with Butternut Squash and Chestnuts. Farro is cultivated in Italy, and this barley-like grain is the perfect vehicle to help you reinvent the leftover butternut squash and chestnuts from the big dinner…and if you have some fresh sage lingering around, this recipe will take it off your hands.

7. Rick Rodgers’ Turkey and Black Bean Tamale Pie. Tamale pies represent the best of a certain kind of comfort food. Here’s an updated version of this classic, which you can vary according to mood and what you have on hand. Try substituting hominy for the black beans, or adding a chopped green bell pepper to the saucepan with the onion.

8. Tiffany Collins’ Turkey Panini with Cranberry Chutney and Sunflower Seeds. Sure, you can make yourself a next-day turkey sandwich, but why not make that a next-day turkey panini? Cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and of course that sweet-tart hit of cranberry chutney or sauce. Sunflower seeds add flavor and a bit of crunch.

9. Diane Rossen Worthington’s Turkey Potpie with Puff Pastry Crust. Tucked under a plush blanket of puff pastry, this filling is brimming with turkey and other typical leftovers, like carrots, pearl onions, peas, and broth.

10. Diane Morgan’s Turkey Stock. Ok, this is kind of messy BUT, as it is written (somewhere), he who maketh turkey stocketh geteth to have first dibs on picking the choicest morsels off of the carcass-eth. Anyway, once you get through the job of cutting up the carcass, all that’s left to do is fill the house with the fragrance of simmering broth.

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