The Perfect Recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers

What to do with all the Thanksgiving leftovers, especially this year of 2020 when most of us had less people around the Thanksgiving table?

First, of course, is the requisite turkey sandwich, made with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and, from my childhood, Miracle Whip. It’s basically the only time I ever use Miracle Whip but it wouldn’t be a proper turkey sandwich without it. But after that? Turkey soup made with the carcass, Turkey Tetrazzini and Turkey Hash. This last recipe is one of my favorites for apres-Thanksgiving, because it uses so many leftovers! It calls for using cubed potatoes, but even that can be subbed for leftover mashed potatoes, just reduce the cooking time. I even used the leftover leaf-shaped butter pats and sliced bell pepper from my crudite platter in this year’s version.

I wish I could give credit for the recipe I’ve had for ages (pretty sure it came from one or both of The Silver Palate authors) but couldn’t find where it originated. If you can’t find parsley, no biggie. It adds a bit of color and freshness to the dish, but isn’t completely necessary. This pairs well with a salad, made with cranberry sauce dressing, just to fit in all the leftovers!

My Turkey Hash

Serves 6

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium potato, scrubbed and cubed
  • 1 green (I used red) bell pepper, halved seeded and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 cups leftover turkey meat, cut in bite size chunks
  • 1/2 cup gravy
  • 2 cups Stuffing, cooked
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  1. In an 8-inch skillet with 3-inch sides, heat the butter over medium heat. Add, in layers, the potato, pepper and turkey: Dot each layer with gravy. Top with stuffing.
  2. Cover the skillet tightly with foil, reduce heat and cooke for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the hash is bubbling and the potatoes are cooked through. Serve garnished with parsley.

Calories 216

The Big Reveal! Make sure it’s bubbling, but watch out for the foil. It’s hot!

And since I think the hardest thing to make at Thanksgiving, after the turkey, is the gravy, I’m offering an easy Classic Pan Gravy recipe by Sam Sifton from the New York Times. I like it because it only calls for 7 tablespoons of turkey fat, unlike other recipes that call for cups of it. I never have a lot of drippings- they must be making turkeys skinnier these day. Try to use the Instant Flour, as it makes it less lumpy. We don’t want a lumpy gravy, people!

This makes gravy making easier!

Classic Pan Gravy

Yield: 5 to 6 cups

  • 7 tablespoons turkey fat, left in roasting pan
  • 6 tablespoons flour, preferably instant
  • 1/2 cup white wine (dry)
  • 4 to 5 cups turkey stock
  • salt and pepper
  1. Pour off all but 7 tablespoons turkey fat from the roasting pan and set the pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the fat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden, 8 to 10 minutes. (mine took a lot less time)
  2. Increase the heat to medium high and add a little white wine, whisking as you go to let it reduce. Slowly add the stock, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Cook, continuing to stir, until the gravy is thickened, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

When you make this gravy, you need to give your full attention to it, otherwise it can go south quickly. This is difficult, since you’re making it at the last minute, when many other dishes need your attention, so either recruit help for other dishes, or teach a trusted person to make this gravy.

Up Next: The Holiday’s are upon us

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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