There's nothing finer than a turkey-and-stuffing sandwich. But when that's been munched, turn to turkey with hominy and Mexican spice or cranberry and Champagne.
New Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
Thanksgiving dinner is nearly as treasured for its leftovers as for the feast itself. In fact, wise cooks cook with the goal of having lots of leftovers left over. The first round of dishes are DIY treats that kids or visitors can fish out of the fridge themselves. But then the cook recovers her or his energy and, staring at a bowl of cold spuds, remembers a wonderful British pub dish called Cottage Pie, based on humble mash. Or recalls the shredded turkey in a spicy Mexican posole from a vacation long ago. Thanksgiving leftovers, being in the best way rather basic foods, lend themselves to internationally inspired twists. Here we dish up more than a half-dozen delicious, playful uses for those precious Turkey Day leftovers.
Leftover Green Bean Niçoise
Classic salade niçoise gets a big flavor boost from our leftover green bean recipe: Dried cranberries provide unexpected sweet-tart notes, while hazelnuts add lightly sweet, meaty depth.
Roast Turkey Pho
You can substitute unsalted chicken stock for the homemade. If you do, simmer with the water, stock, peppercorns, sugar, star anise, and ginger, and proceed with recipe from there.
Picadillo-Stuffed Mashed Potato Balls
Papas rellenas (stuffed potato balls) are a traditional Spanish dish. Baked instead of fried, they're a healthy and delicious way to make a meal out of leftover mashed potatoes.
Cran-Apple Smoked Turkey Sliders
Let's face it: You have to have a killer leftover turkey sandwich the day after the feast. If you start with our robust Applewood-Smoked Turkey, you need only a few embellishments—namely the juicy snap of tart apple and the extra layer of smoke from the cheddar—to reach to-die-for status.
Dressing-Stuffed Mini Peppers
We love these stuffed peppers as an appetizer, but you can also serve them as a side dish. Be sure to use baby bell peppers and not mini sweet peppers (shaped like jalapeños) so they're big enough to accommodate the filling. As an alternative to broiling, you can char the peppers directly over a gas flame, turning frequently with tongs.
Mexican Turkey Stew from Leftover Turkey
While usually an ingredient in moles, roasted pumpkinseed kernels add another layer of nutty flavor to this posole-style broth. Look for them in specialty markets and health-food stores. Substitute ancho chile powder if guajillo is unavailable.
Turkey Arepas from Leftover Turkey
Arepas are corn cakes popular in Latin American countries. Look for arepa flour in the international food section of large supermarkets or in an ethnic market. Don't substitute masa harina or cornmeal for the arepa flour, which is precooked. Store the flour in an airtight container in your freezer to extend its shelf life.
Flan from Leftover Sweet Potato
This flan—Spanish baked custard—is best when made with leftover sweet potatoes that have been simply prepared and minimally seasoned. Use ground nutmeg in place of grated whole nutmeg, if you prefer.
Three More Ways to Use Grated Whole Nutmeg
1. Add a dash or two to sautéed spinach to build complex flavor.
2. Mix 1/4 teaspoon into spice rubs for meats.
3. Use it to top chai tea, cappuccinos, or eggnog.
Salad from Leftover Green Beans
Serve this Mediterranean-flavored side dish with roasted, simply seasoned chicken, pork, beef, or fish.
Kir Royale from Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Leftover cranberry sauce helps concoct a lightly sweet homemade cranberry liqueur in this twist on a classic French cocktail. Allow four days to steep the liqueur. Garnish with cranberries, if you like.
Cottage Pie from Leftover Mashed Potatoes
Leftover mashed potatoes are mixed with white cheddar cheese to form the top crust for this British pub-food staple. Ground beef is traditionally used, but lean ground turkey will work, as well. Brown the crust under the broiler for a minute or two, if you like.
Samosas from Leftover Mashed Potatoes
This dish uses leftover mashed potatoes in a big batch of Indian-inspired snacks—great for parties.
Three More Ways to Use Garam Masala
1. Stir it into cooked lentils.
2. Add to curry dishes.
3. Sprinkle onto roasted or sautéed butternut squash for an exotic, fragrant flourish.