The Remains of the Day – Thanksgiving Leftovers
Some things are unavoidable: death, taxes, and Thanksgiving leftovers. While the first two are usually unpleasant, leftovers from the official Turkey Day celebration are downright desirable. There are those among us—myself included—who love the leftovers more that the great feast itself. Whether we admit it or not, the best thing about Thanksgiving is the leftovers.
Of all the holidays we celebrate, none is as important as Thanksgiving when it comes to the food. And for the cook, the traditional gathering of family to give thanks for the bounty we so abundantly enjoy is made even more enjoyable knowing that the fruits of our culinary labors will satisfy for weeks to come. While planning and preparing the mother of all feasts, taking all day (several days) to fix, I am secretly pleased to know that a week’s worth of meals are at hand. All of those extras are not only inevitable, they’re a welcome addition to tomorrow’s menu.
I love the leftovers so much I’ve been known to roast two turkeys on Thanksgiving. Not only do I have four legs of dark meat, four crispy wings, and two wishbones for my family to fight over, I’ve plenty of meat to create delicious dishes in the days to come including my version of a “homemade TV dinner.” Layer shredded turkey, potatoes, stuffing and gravy in a pie tin; seal and freeze, and enjoy the taste of Thanksgiving long after the holiday memories have faded.
When it comes to holiday feasts, the leftovers from Thanksgiving are as much an institution as the tradition itself. So put your prior day’s efforts to work, take advantage of the inevitable, and transform the remains of the day into delicious dishes sure to please.
Bread puddings are all the rage. This easy to prepare one-dish entrée is perfect for entertaining the out-of-town guests still visiting. Serve a simple tossed green salad and if you’ve any gravy leftover, serve a little along side.
Savory Bread Pudding
6 to 8 leftover dinner rolls, torn into 2-inch pieces OR 4 cups bread stuffing
12 ounces roast turkey, shredded
8 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1. In a large bowl, combine the bread pieces, turkey, cheese, onion, sage, and parsley. Spread the mixture in a gratin or shallow baking dish.
2. In the same bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and mustard and whisk together well. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the bread and sprinkle the Parmesan on top. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven until golden brown and the custard is set, approximately 40 minutes. Serve hot.