Two Creative Ways To Enjoy Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
Chris Fennimore shares a sophisticated solution for enjoying your Thanksgiving meal all over again.
We all have our favorite part of the extravagant Thanksgiving meal.
For some, it’s the stuffing, moist and full of savory seasonings. It’s such a favorite in my family that most years I’ll make two stuffings — one with cornbread, sausage and apples, and the other more traditional with onions and croutons and lots of herbal flavors.
Other people stake their claim to a particular part of the turkey, such as drumsticks or wings, and go into caveman mode as they chew the meat off the bones.
Lots of folks, of course, just wait patiently until the main course is cleared away and the table is restocked with apple, pecan, pumpkin and other pies.
For me, the best part of any Thanksgiving dinner comes on Friday, when we can quietly enjoy the same flavors without all the pressure of the holiday meal itself.
I used to enjoy taking some of the leftover rolls and making small sandwiches of turkey meat, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Recently, I’ve found a way to turn those same ingredients into a more sophisticated after-holiday meal that no one will think of as “leftovers.”
It’s called Turkey Croquettes.
The first time I encountered the term croquette was in a Stouffer’s restaurant on 34th Street in Manhattan, just up the block from the world-famous Macy’s department store.
My grandmother had taken me to this fine-dining establishment as a special treat. I guess I wasn’t quite sophisticated enough for this haute cuisine menu because I mistook the entrée name for the vicious game played by the Queen of Hearts using flamingos for mallets in “Alice in Wonderland.”
Since then, I’ve come to appreciate the homey goodness of these little patties, which are generally some kind of ground cooked meat bound together with a white sauce and flavored with onion and lemon, then fried or baked and served with a sauce.
In this case, the meat is turkey (and it can be any little bits and pieces) and the binder and flavoring come from the stuffing and gravy; the sauce is simply heated cranberry sauce.
A lifelong home cook with a big Italian-American family, Chris Fennimore was the longtime program director, as well as the popular “cooking guy,” at WQED. In 1993, he began producing and hosting the series “QED Cooks,” which won a James Beard Award and an Emmy. He has produced, contributed to and edited more than 100 community cookbooks in WQED’s “America’s Homecooking Series.”
2 cups cooked turkey
1 cup stuffing
1 cup gravy
1 egg beaten with the juice of one lemon
½ cup breadcrumbs
Leftover cranberry sauce
Put the turkey, gravy and stuffing in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is still coarse but well blended.
Measure out a cup of the mixture and roll it into a ball.
Dip the ball first in the egg and then roll in the breadcrumb.
Roll each croquette gently between your palms into the traditional cone shape and place on a greased baking pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Heat the cranberry sauce in a pan and serve on the side as a sauce.
Makes between 8-10 croquettes.
Sausage, Apple, Cornbread, Cranberry and Pecan Stuffing
1 pound sage-flavored sausage, removed from casing
1 stick butter
1 large onion, diced
8 cups cornbread cubes
3 apples peeled and diced
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ tsp each parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup craisins
1 cup toasted pecans
In a large skillet, fry the sausage, breaking into small pieces with the side of a spoon. When the sausage is lightly brown, add the butter and the onion. Stir and cook until the onion is soft. Add the apples and continue to cook until they begin to soften. Add the spices and the stock and bring to a boil. Toss in the bread cubes, craisins and pecans and mix well. Use to stuff the turkey or bake in a casserole dish for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.