What to Do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

What to Do with Thanksgiving Leftovers

Rewarming the turkey and gravy won’t suffice

By Aida Mollenkamp

Once Thanksgiving has come and gone, we hit the turkey-and-stuffing wall long before the leftovers are eaten. But you can give new life to your surplus by reincarnating the turkey and sides in these decidedly un-Thanksgiving recipes. We even have a couple of cocktails that use the dregs of the cranberry sauce, which always seems to be the last Tupperware in the fridge. And for even more recipes, check out these 10 ideas from chefs.

1. Basic Turkey Stock. If the big day left you in a food coma, then you’re probably not enticed to do much beyond clicking the remote. This stock recipe requires minimal effort and makes eight quarts, perfect for freezing and using later.

2. Turkey Pot Pie. Pot pie is a common way to use up turkey, but subpar versions are often chalky, gummy, and bland. Ours starts things off right with Creamed Turkey that’s good enough to eat on its own; then you pack it with vegetables, and top it with store-bought crust to avoid dough-making headaches.

3. Curried Turkey Salad. Another throwback recipe that we improved upon, this salad has tartness from yogurt, sweetness from raisins, and crunch from shards of toasted coconut. It takes a minimum of effort and will renew your interest in bird leftovers.

4. Crispy Turkey Enchiladas. These real-deal enchiladas are spicy and flavorful. Though they are more commonly made with pork or chicken, we swapped in turkey and doused it all in a Red Chile Sauce that’s great to snack on with chips.

5. Turkey Posole a la Guerita. Posole is one of those slow-cooked dishes that result in a beautiful meld of flavors. Figuring that you won’t want to be slaving away with your leftovers after having just orchestrated the big meal, we came up with a shortcut version we coined a la Guerita, a.k.a. white-girl style.

6. Turkey Mulligatawny Soup. This rich, heady soup is laced with spices and coconut milk.

7. Turkey Pad See Ew. The Thai noodle dish pad see ew is usually made with anything from beef to pork to chicken. We filled ours with turkey and won thumbs-up from pad see ew–obsessed Multimedia Producer Meredith Arthur.

8. Stuffing-Stuffed Mushrooms. These give stuffing a second life and make for quick hors d’oeuvres when unexpected company comes knocking.

9. Pecan and Sweet Potato Bread. Throw together this quick bread that does duty as a snack, a breakfast treat, or even dessert when toasted and served à la mode.

10. Peninsular War and Cranberry Culprit. All self-respecting cranberry sauces are sweet, tart, and fruity, and that also works as a fabulous foundation for cocktails. Try the flavor combo shaken with Cognac and Licor 43 or mixed with bourbon and amaretto.