Just because you almost outdid yourself with preparations for a magnificent feast yesterday doesn't mean you can relax today. No way. The hunger pangs will hit at the usual times and someone (probably you) will be expected to produce sustenance to assuage them.
You do, of course, have one break. This is one day when you can do a replay of yesterday's repast with little harping from hungry souls about, "Leftovers, again?" The good old Thanksgiving dinner is always worth a repeat. It's after that that one needs to be more creative.
So how do you recycle the old bird without amassing complaints? Think sandwiches. Not just ordinary sandwiches, mind you. Sandwiches with some zing. Sandwiches that artfully disguise the fact that the holiday feast is reappearing in slightly different form. We're talking upscale sandwiches here. But we're also talking sensible use of some delicious leftovers.
The extra stuffing, that half cup of cranberry sauce, leftover gravy . . . all can be utilized in the preparation of some knife and fork sandwiches that are hearty enough for a full meal. Some can be served hot, others cold. But the following recipes for turkey sandwiches will make diners forget they ever saw the bird in its original glory. These are good enough to stand on their own merits.
A turkey-bacon-and-tomato club sandwich is always a favorite, of course, and shouldn't be bypassed as a possibility. However, it's really quite possible to turn a slightly used turkey and its fixings into something more glamorous. Why not marinate those extra-nice slices of turkey breast or thigh, along with some sliced red and yellow peppers in an Italian-style vinaigrette for several hours or overnight? Then serve the combination with some bufalo mozzarella cheese on toasted pumpernickel bread with a sprinkling of fresh basil. You'll have no complaints about this one!
Or, if you have a fair quantity of the odd-size bits and pieces of turkey that really need some help to make a successful sandwich, use them in a turkey loaf. This is a great way to use up some of the leftover vegetables and cranberries. We used celery, carrots, cranberries and bacon with the turkey in a lovely, light meat loaf that is equally good hot and cold. Serve it hot on a thick slice of sourdough bread (or French bread) with a rich tarragon-flavored gravy or serve it cold in a pita bread and garnish it with alfalfa sprouts and tomatoes. Either way, it will earn kudos from fellow diners.
These are just a couple of the sandwich suggestions that follow. Others call for leftover turkey to be seasoned with curry or combined with bean sprouts in an Oriental-style mixture. Still others utilize the leftover bird in additional appetizing ways. Give them a try. You'll be surprised at how quickly the holiday feast truly turns into a disappearing act.
ITALIAN TURKEY-ROASTED PEPPER SANDWICH
1 sweet yellow pepper
1 sweet red pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup wine vinegar
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
8 slices cooked turkey
Bufalo mozzarella, sliced
4 pumpernickel or other bread slices, toasted
Basil for garnish, optional
Black olives for garnish, optional
Broil yellow and red peppers until skins blister and turn dark, turning occasionally. Remove and place inside plastic bags to sweat. When cool enough to handle, peel off skins. Slice into strips.
Combine peppers in bowl with basil, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, garlic and turkey slices. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand in refrigerator at least 30 minutes. Drain peppers and turkey, reserving marinade.
Arrange drained peppers and turkey with cheese slices on toasted bread slices. Spoon some of marinade on top, if desired. Garnish with basil and olives. Makes 4 servings.
TURKEY LOAF SANDWICH
3 1/2 to 4 cups ground cooked turkey
1 cup ground pork, packed
1 cup soft bread crumbs, packed
3 stalks celery, minced
1/2 cup minced carrots
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/3 cup canned or cooked cranberries or raisins, optional
6 slices bacon
Tarragon Gravy or leftover turkey gravy
Sourdough slices or pita bread
Alfalfa sprouts, watercress or lettuce
Sliced tomatoes, optional
Combine ground turkey, eggs, ground pork, bread crumbs, celery, carrots, green onions and cranberries in large bowl. Mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Shape into loaf and wrap around with bacon slices. Or place 3 slices bacon in bottom of 9x5-inch loaf pan, pack turkey mixture in pan, then cover with remaining bacon slices. Bake at 350 degrees 50 to 60 minutes or until done.
Let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Reserve drippings for gravy. Cut meat loaf into 3/4-inch slices and serve hot with Tarragon Gravy on open-face toasted and buttered bread slices. Or serve as a cold sandwich with alfalfa sprouts on bread slices or pita bread spread with mayonnaise. Add sliced tomatoes. Makes about 8 servings.
2 tablespoons meat loaf drippings