By the time you are reading this column it’s either Thanksgiving or just after Thanksgiving. And as always, the discussion starts to center around what to do with leftovers.
Let’s start with the safety issues. Once the turkey is carved and placed in zipped, locked bags, plan on using everything within 72 hours to be on the safe side. Anything over that and you are starting to play a game of culinary Russian roulette. Now let’s talk leftover dishes.
The first and most obvious use of leftover turkey is the traditional turkey sandwich. This is a cold sandwich served on really nice bread, with lettuce, salt, pepper, mayo and horseradish. I know this is basic but this is certainly a classic. And, for some reason, it feels like a healthy selection following the nonstop food bonanza from the previous day.
If you want to take your leftover turkey sandwich to a new level, consider the following idea, assuming you won’t be getting your cholesterol level checked in the next few weeks.
The background of this “recipe” is that a buddy of mine named Ray who lives in California would always post a picture of this sandwich on social media for all to see the day after Thanksgiving.
I think his goal was for people to look at this monstrosity and covet his culinary creation. Frankly, it always reminded me of the excesses of our American diets. Basically, he would place everything, and I do mean everything from the previous day’s dinner between two pieces of sturdy bread. Turkey, green bean casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce. If I’m not mistaken I think he even included a small sliver of the pumpkin portion of pumpkin pie. He swore it was delicious but I have always had my doubts. Will I give it a try? Nope.
Another fantastic use of leftover turkey is the Hot Brown sandwich. If you want to fix the legitimate hot brown, go to www.brownhotel.com, the website of the Brown Hotel in Louisville. The full recipe and the ingredients are right there. Again, it’s not something which will lower your cholesterol level, but boy-oh-boy it’s good.
It’s an open-faced sandwich on crustless Texas toast which also includes turkey, bacon, cheese, tomato and a homemade Mornay sauce. We’ve made it before and it’s awesome, but I need to go visit the Brown Hotel (where it was created to feed late night dancers at the last moment in the 1920s) and try the original. I’ll be sure to report back to you after I make this investigative visit.
And lastly, a homemade turkey pot pie in a cast iron skillet. Liz tends to make the crust from scratch but you can buy pie crust in a pinch. The recipe includes celery, carrots, onion and mushrooms in a thick white wine sauce. It is perfect for a cool, dark autumn evening.
Obviously there are a myriad of leftover ideas. At one time or another I’ve written about most of them. Bottom line, don’t let this delicious food go to waste, and keep creating great memories as we roll through the holidays.