By Ginna Parsons
TUPELO – Every holiday, I’m not sure which my family enjoys more: the Thanksgiving meal itself or the leftovers we enjoy for days afterward.
I’m afraid if we ever decided not to cook a turkey at Thanksgiving, our children would sound like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” just after the Bumpuses’ dogs ate the Parker family’s holiday bird: “No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey hash! Turkey a la King! Or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, all gone!”
We always cook a turkey large enough to satisfy everyone at the table – plus large pans of sides – so we can find creative ways to use the leftovers.
My sister-in-law, Pat, is famous in the family for her Thanksgiving on a Roll. My husband, Charlie, had told me about these sandwiches for years, but it wasn’t until we visited Pat one Thanksgiving in Chicago that she bought a bag of hard rolls and made these for us.
My favorite leftover dish that my mother used to make was turkey hash. She’d combine turkey with onion, celery, potatoes and broth and present us with a pot of comfort food – pure love.
And when everything was tender and all the flavors were melded, she’d ladle the hash on top of fluffy white rice (I know, potatoes and rice). Daddy preferred his served on top of toast (I know, potatoes and bread).
Growing up in South Alabama, we didn’t have things like green bean casserole, asparagus, Brussels sprouts or spinach soufflé as our side dishes. We had peas and butterbeans and corn, all vegetables Mama picked and put up the summer before.
Those leftovers were spooned into little plastic boxes and popped in the freezer and when my mother got ready to make homemade vegetable soup, she already had a head start.
Today, leftovers have gotten a bit more sophisticated. There are recipes for turkey tucked in little angel hair pasta nests and submerged in a creamy stroganoff sauce.
But nothing beats a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with Hellman’s mayonnaise, lots of salt and pepper and a leaf of crisp iceberg lettuce.
Sometimes, simple is best.
Thanksgiving on a Roll
6 hard rolls
12 ounces sliced turkey breast
3⁄4 cup gravy
Leftover cornbread dressing
Slice rolls in half. On bottom half of each roll, layer cranberry sauce, 2 ounces of turkey, 2 tablespoons of gravy and a generous spoonful of dressing. Place top half of roll on, spear with a toothpick and enjoy.
Turkey Potpie Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced in coins
3 cans chicken broth
1 cup peeled, cubed potatoes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 to 3 teaspoons cold water
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup half and half
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
1 cup frozen petite green peas
1 baked pie shell, broken in pieces
Fresh parsley, for garnish
In a Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is tender. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, reduce to simmer and cook about 15 minutes.
Combine cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry. Add to soup and stir until blended. Season with salt and pepper. Add half and half and bring mixture back just to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in turkey and peas. Cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Ladle soup into 6 bowls. Top with broken pie shell pieces and garnish with fresh parsley.
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 cups chicken or turkey broth
3 to 4 red potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups chopped or shredded cooked turkey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cold water
Salt and pepper
In a Dutch oven, sauté onion and celery in melted butter. When tender, add broth and potatoes and increase heat to a low boil. When potatoes are almost done, add turkey and stir. Make a slurry of cornstarch and cold water and add to mixture, stirring to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over white rice (or toast).
Serves 4 to 6.
9 ounces wide egg noodles
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
11⁄2 cups finely chopped onion
11⁄2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
6 tablespoons dry white wine
6 tablespoons dried cranberries, preferably unsweetened
3 cups shredded cooked white and dark meat turkey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
12 ounces reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and reserve.
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetable oil and sauté the onions and mushrooms until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and add the cranberries. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the turkey, Dijon mustard and sour cream. Remove from heat. Divide the noodles between 6 bowls. Top with stroganoff mixture. Sprinkle with parsley.
5 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, washed and thinly sliced
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup water
3⁄4 cup finely chopped green onions, divided
1⁄3 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 package angel hair pasta nests
11⁄2 cups cooked, skinless turkey breast, chopped or shredded
3⁄4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sauté leeks in 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until crisp tender, stirring frequently. Add water, 1⁄2 cup green onions and wine; cook, covered, 10 minutes or until leeks are soft. Transfer mixture to a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in remaining 3 tablespoons of oil. Cover and keep warm.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working in batches, gently lower pasta into boiling water. Cook 6 minutes or until al dente. Carefully remove pasta with a large slotted spoon, gently shaking to remove excess liquid. Repeat procedure with remaining pasta.
Arrange cooked pasta nests on a large rimmed platter. Spoon sauce evenly over each nest. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese, and top with turkey. Garnish with remaining 1⁄4 cup green onions.