Friday Night is Leftovers

(L to R) LEFTOVER CLUB A leftover roll with crispy lettuce and turkey, spread with a layer of sweet potatoes and ranch dressing. STUFFING BENEDICT Butter-seared stuffing patty with dijon mustard, ham, and a fried egg. TURKEY MONSIEUR Toasted rustic bread with honey mustard, Granny Smith apples, turkey, and cranberry sauce, topped with bread and broiled until melted. Photo by Christin


Christin shares her secrets to transforming Thanksgiving leftovers into tasty sandwiches

Is there anything on Earth better than a Thanksgiving sandwich? If you said yes, please stop disgracing this article with your eyes. The answer is no, there most certainly is not.

For me, the end of November isn’t exciting because of the break from school or carols on the radio. No, what makes it special is that fourth Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the day on which delicious reaches new levels.

Why, you ask, do I prefer the day after the hallowed American holiday? While I’m all for honoring the “friendship” between the Pilgrims and Native Americans, there’s nothing too special about a Thanksgiving dinner. Anyone can make the requisite turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc., but what really matters is what happens to the leftovers. Never in history has there been a more glorious combination of flavors and ingredients than what’s found on a Thanksgiving sandwich.

Each year on Black Friday, my family forgoes stampeding Wal-Mart sales in favor of crafting sandwiches, a sacred annual ritual.

Our greatest family conflict occurred in 2009, when my mom tried—and failed—to fry a turkey. While we achieved the perfectly crispy skin that we had been promised, the meat didn’t fully cook, and we had to make a pivotal decision: turkey on Thanksgiving, or turkey on sandwiches. We had a vegetarian meal that night.

In my years of sandwichcraft, I’ve learned a few fundamentals. First of all, you must use good bread—something rustic, crunchy, chewy. You’ll be sorry if you use anything from a flimsy plastic bag.

If you dare, consider smooshing some stuffing into makeshift patties and pan-frying them in butter. Never will carbs taste so good.

Second, do not skimp on the spreads. Whether you use fresh or canned cranberry sauce, load it on, and don’t forget things like gravy, mayo, Worcestershire, ranch dressing, pesto, barbeque sauce, even cream cheese. Maybe spread some goat cheese on there, or—while we’re talking about cheese—a slice of sharp white cheddar. Better yet, throw some brie on a turkey-apple-cranberry-honey-mustard sandwich, slip it under the broiler until it bubbles, and you’ve got yourself a Croque Monsieur, Thanksgiving style.

If you want some dessert after your glorious creation, consider making a Pie Shake—two scoops of ice cream, half a cup of milk, and a slice of your finest pumpkin, apple, or pecan. You’ll never think of pie à la mode the same way again.

This year, when your family is going around the table saying what everyone is thankful for, remember what really matters—leftovers.

– Christin