Leftovers

For a lot of people, one of the best things about Thanksgiving is having leftovers. My stepfather loves to make sandwiches with leftover turkey and stuffing, which is just plain wrong in my opinion.

Turkey hand pie made with Thanksgiving leftovers

Turkey hand pie made with Thanksgiving leftovers

We received several invitations to “Leftover” dinners in the days after Thanksgiving. As I mentioned in my previous post, my friend, Vic, had the idea to do a gourmet-ish small plates dinner with Thanksgiving leftovers on Friday (which necessitated our regrets to a subsequent leftovers dinner invitation from our other friends, Bob and Shoba, for the same night).

I cheated a bit with my first course, which was some salmon I’d cured Spanish-style with sherry and pimenton, thinly sliced and served over sherry vinegar marinated melon with baby heirloom tomatoes and tempura garlic chive flowers. (There was nothing leftover about that.) But next I presented a chestnut soup served with house-cured lardo croutons and made with leftover turkey carcass stock, followed by turkey hand pies. I beat Vic and Jessie, who utilized no leftovers whatsoever in their delicious dinner contributions of lamb pops and an Alice Waters rhubarb tart that had even the picky kids fighting over the last piece.

Non-leftover cured salmon

Non-leftover cured salmon

Chestnut soup

Chestnut soup with lardo croutons

Jessie's rhubarb tart

Jessie’s rhubarb tart

Saturday, as I was preparing my two dishes for that evening’s leftover dinner, I toasted a croissant and made a sandwich with leftover buttermilk-fried turkey, mayo, heirloom tomato, romaine lettuce and swiss cheese. I got a few bites before my wife took the sandwich over.

Our friends, Derek and Cristina, welcomed us to the Moroccan fortress (complete with roving pet monkey) they are renting in Malibu. I was interested to see what people would bring for their leftover contribution. I was contributing two turkey leftover dishes — Szechuan turkey spring rolls with hot mustard and turkey pot pie (with monkey motif) — our friend Heather was bringing turkey tetrazzini, and I worried the dinner would be turkey-heavy.

Turkey pie with monkey

Turkey pie with monkey

Morocco in Malibu

Morocco in Malibu

My Szechuan turkey spring rolls

My Szechuan turkey spring rolls

Sure enough, turkey was well represented but far from overwhelming. The Szechuan spring rolls may have been the star of the evening, but other standouts included my pal Ernie’s stuffing topped with a poached egg (which I then topped again with my other pal Dan’s exceptional au jus turkey gravy) and a cold bucatini salad that I suspect was absent of any leftovers but was delicious nonetheless. I will admit, I did not try the gluten-free stuffing.

As the evening waned and I looked over the large quantities of uneaten food — leftover leftovers, if you will — I wondered if there would then be a third incarnation of the Thanksgiving leftovers feast. What would you do with the tetrazzini, for example — throw it in a pot with some stock and make a turkey noodle soup? And would there be any salvaging the big piles of unfinished stuffing? (My chickens would certainly appreciate a bready shout out.)

Heather and her tetrazzini

Heather and her tetrazzini

If you happen to have any leftover dark meat chicken still crowding your refrigerator shelves, try out my spring rolls — I promise you’ll have no leftovers.

*    *    *

Szechuan turkey spring rolls with red vinegar mustard
serves 4-6 as an appetizer

1 cup shredded dark meat turkey
12 won ton wrappers
1 tbsp. plum sauce
1 tbsp. Szechuan peppercorns, toasted
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 scallions, slivered
salt to taste
1/2 cup oil
2 tbsp. Chinese red vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

Toast the Szechuan peppercorns in a hot pan for 10 seconds, and then remove and coarsely grind in either a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Toss turkey with plum sauce, peppercorns, ginger and one of the slivered scallions.

Place about 1 scant tbsp. turkey mixture at one end of a won ton wrapper, and roll up like a carpet or cigarette. Continue until all wrappers have been filled and rolled.

Heat oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Fry the spring rolls, turning over as they crisp up on one side. When they are all crisp and golden, remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Place on a serving dish or platter.

Stir together the Chinese red vinegar and Dijon mustard, and drizzle a little over each spring roll. Serve.

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ema Jones
    Dec 02, 2014 @ 06:21:34

    Sandwiches with leftover make a tasty meal 🙂

    Reply

  2. andreathompson2
    Dec 02, 2014 @ 14:37:32

    I LOVE the monkey on the pot pie!! (I hate that your friends have a pet monkey. Wild animals are not meant to be domestic pets.)

    Reply

    • scolgin
      Dec 02, 2014 @ 14:50:20

      It’s not my friends who have the monkey, it’s part of the house they are renting. But apparently the owner is in marmoset rescue…

      Reply

  3. pal-O
    Dec 02, 2014 @ 15:00:46

    I was harassed and attacked by a fellow’s pet monkey once that lived in the trees of his backyard and have no interest in sharing time nor space with pet monkeys since that encounter . . . but one man’s delight is another’s horror. Quick edit note–when did the duck appear in the turkey spring rolls in the recipe above? A Zen trick similar to making wine from water? Glad to see from the previous SG&M posting that we share the same spiritual leanings (agnostic with Zen leanings)–viewed through a squinted eye after having bitten an imaginary lemon . . . ;^)

    Reply

    • scolgin
      Dec 02, 2014 @ 15:37:12

      Thank you for your sharp Zen eye, my brother. Duck on the mind when I make something like this. (My turkey was cooked in duck fat — that then makes the turkey mixture technically count as a “duck mixture” too, right??)

      Reply

      • pal-O
        Dec 02, 2014 @ 21:52:18

        I would consider it duckified! Too bad the bird of choice for Thanksgiving is not the duck however. Jamaica spatchcocked a turkey this year and it roasted in very little time after being dry brined for 24 hours and to be honest it was the juiciest bird ever. Plus it had an herbed/spiced butter tucked under the skin which added a subtle flavoring. Any recipes for monkey?

      • scolgin
        Dec 02, 2014 @ 21:54:19

        I’m sure they eat monkey in some parts of the world. (Arkansas??) I’ve heard of several people spatchcocking turkeys. I think people just like to say “spatchcock”. It’s like when everyone was deep frying their turkey. Our friends grilled their spatchcocked turkey, which I thought was a fine idea.

  4. pal-O
    Dec 02, 2014 @ 23:56:14

    I turn a little red when I say it. Mostly I just say split it along the backbone from neck to Pope’s nose but “spatchcock” was the word of the day in Raleigh. They do eat many things in Arkansas but I think mostly out of necessity. They have a small town named Toad Suck, Arkansas (recent winner in an online poll for most unfortunate town name in the U.S.) which tells me someone may have tried that once and not much to their liking. Could mean something totally different but I’m not going there as spatchcock is embarrassing enough. Let’s move on to Christmas.

    Reply

    • scolgin
      Dec 03, 2014 @ 05:24:48

      And Intercourse, PA wins the online poll for best town name, right? (narrowly beating out such other Pennsylvania towns as Beaver, Big Beaver, New Beaver, Climax and Blue Ball.)

      Reply

  5. Jessamine in PDX
    Dec 05, 2014 @ 06:18:29

    My favorite turkey leftover is *always* turkey tetrazzini. It’s what I tend to live on the week after Thanksgiving. BUT the first thing I would have to eat at that dinner party would be the spring rolls. Seriously. And lardo croutons? That sounds porky and happy!

    Reply

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