Sorry, sandwiches, but there are more exciting ways to use turkey leftovers

Baltimore chefs and food experts share their ideas for creative dishes with that extra turkey

(Bill Hogan / MCT )
November 26, 2013|By Allison Brickell, For The Baltimore Sun

There's nothing wrong with slapping together some bread, mayo and turkey in the days following Thanksgiving. But eating what seems like an endless stream of cold sandwiches after the holiday can get a bit dull.

So avoid getting stuck in the boring leftovers rut; these recipes from local chefs and food experts will make creative use of your post-Thanksgiving fixings.

John Shields

John Shields is a fixture at his restaurant, Gertrude's. But not on Thanksgiving — that's his time to relax and enjoy reconnecting with family.

"I'm not a chef that day," Shields said. "I'm just a cook at home making the family meal."

Shields said he has many Thanksgiving memories of his mother and grandmother fighting for dominance in the kitchen.

"My grandmother and mother were like oil and water," he said. "It could get wild, with them wrestling with the turkey in the morning."

Shields' family traditionally used all parts of the turkey to make leftover dishes, including turkey noodle soup, turkey salad, and grilled turkey sandwiches.

"You can get all kinds of cool things," he said.

Here is Shields' turkey pot pie with a sweet potato crust.

Turkey pot pie

Makes 6 to 8 servings

For the filling:

15 pearl onions (or one cup diced onion)

1 cup medium diced carrots

1 cup medium diced celery

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

4 - 5 cups turkey or vegetable stock

4 cups (approximately) diced leftover turkey, both white and dark meats

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Freshly ground black pepper

Ground nutmeg

Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, combine the pearl onions, carrots, celery, corn and peas. Pour in only enough of the stock to cover. Simmer until tender. Drain and reserve the cooking liquid. Arrange turkey meat and vegetables in a 4-quart baking dish.

To make the sauce, melt butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in reserved cooking liquid and enough turkey stock to equal 3 cups, and the cream. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and continue to simmer for 3 minutes. Season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour over the turkey and the vegetables.

For the sweet potato pastry (makes one 12-inch crust):

1 - 2 sweet potatoes (enough to yield 1 1/2 cups mashed)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes until soft, 40 to 60 minutes, depending on size. Prick with a fork when half-cooked to prevent potatoes from bursting. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and mash. Chill.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the chilled sweet potatoes, shortening and eggs and with a pastry blender, or two knives, or your fingertips, work in the flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it to a size that will fit your baking dish.

Roll out the pastry and fit it over the top of the baking dish, crimping the edges. Bake the pie for about 45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and the filling is piping hot. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Connie Crabtree-Burritt

Connie Crabtree-Burritt has been cooking professionally for about 40 years. She's a chef and director of culinary job training at Baltimore Outreach Services.

Thanksgiving, Crabtree-Burritt said, is a very important holiday for her family.

"For the past 30 years I have made Thanksgiving dinner," she said. "I don't get tired of it. What could be better than to have five carbs on the table at one time?"

Crabtree-Burritt said leftovers don't need to take a back seat to the main meal.

"To reproduce the meal the next day is even better than the first day," she said. "All my friends want to show up and eat our leftovers."

Crabtree-Burritt recommended turkey a la king with crispy waffles. She said this meal is great for brunch or supper, and pairs well with a crisp sparkling wine.

Turkey a la king

Makes 6 to 8 servings

For the crispy waffles:

1 envelope dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 cups milk, warmed to room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

At least 8 hours before cooking, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the milk, oil, salt, sugar and flour, and whisk to blend. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.

Add the eggs and baking soda and mix well. The batter will be thin. Pour 1/2- to 3/4-cup portions of the batter onto a hot waffle iron. Cook until brown and crisp.

For the turkey a la king:

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cup chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 cups roasted turkey, skin removed and meat chopped or shredded

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