Typically, by the time I’ve stuffed and baked a turkey, whipped up a monster batch of mashed potatoes, thrown together a few side dishes, stirred the gravy and set the table, I’m totally exhausted and the holiday meal—while delicious—goes by in a blur. It’s enjoyable, sure, but when it’s over, it’s all I can do to crawl to the nearest couch and demand another glass of wine.
One might think I’d give up hosting Thanksgiving dinners once in a while, but unless I bust a limb or contract a lingering malady such as mono or bronchitis, there’s no chance I’m abdicating my reign. I’m all about the leftovers, you see, and it’s one of the main reasons I’m always the first to volunteer my kitchen, and my services, in the name of edible revelry.
While pumpkin pie with whipped cream is my go-to morning-after meal, there’s a lot that can be done with the rest of what remains after appetites have been sated and guests have waddled back to their own homes.
Among many other things, I’ve made turkey soup, turkey enchiladas, shepherd’s pie with layers of stuffing, potatoes, turkey and blue cheese, an occasional turkey sandwich, and grilled potato cakes topped with eggs.
While polling my Facebook friends for new leftover ideas, I was directed to a couple recipes that offer new takes on my typical creations. My turkey soup is usually a simple affair—just turkey, carrots, potatoes, onions and fresh garlic—but the recipe printed here for Turkey-Sage Chowder offers up a richer version of the classic (and also brings bacon, delicious bacon, into the mix).
Since I’m not the biggest fan of fresh cranberries, but love cranberry juice, the Cranberry Cobbler cocktail makes good use of something I might allow to languish in my fridge until it’s time for Christmas dinner.
I’m still having that piece of pie for my Friday-morning breakfast, however. Some things will never change.
4 bacon slices (about 4 ounces), coarsely chopped
2 cups chopped onions
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups whole milk
1 cup canned low-salt chicken broth
2/3 cup condensed cream of potato soup (from one 10 3/4-ounce can)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey
Cook bacon in heavy large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pan. Increase heat to medium-high, add onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix in potatoes, milk, broth, cream of potato soup, and 1 tablespoon sage. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add turkey meat, bacon, and remaining 1 tablespoon sage. Simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.
For a variation, you could throw in a cup of cooked vegetables left over from Thanksgiving to add texture to this creamy chowder. Serve the soup with chowder crackers, along with a spinach and pear salad. Serves four.
Cranberry Cobbler Cocktail
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 orange, sliced into thin rounds
1-1/2 cups London dry gin (such as Beefeater or Tanqueray)
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. off-dry sherry (such as Lustau East India Solera)
6 mint sprigs
Bring sugar and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour off all but one cup simple syrup; refrigerate remaining syrup for another use.
Heat syrup in pan almost to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Add cranberries and simmer until they just begin to burst, 2–3 minutes. Let cool in syrup.
Place 2 Tbsp. drained cranberries and 6 Tbsp. cranberry syrup in a large pitcher. Add lemon wedges and orange slices. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, vigorously mash fruit. Stir in gin and sherry. Let steep for 5 minutes.
Strain into a medium pitcher. Fill three glasses with crushed ice. Pour half of mixture into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice; shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain into prepared glasses, then mound with more crushed ice. Garnish each with a mint sprig and three cranberries. Repeat to make 3 more cocktails.
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