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A COOL COMEBACK : Artful disguises for the cold leftover Thanksgiving bird can range from a simple sandwich given a touch of class to an elegant pate suitable for a holiday party.

November 27, 1987|BETSY BALSLEY | Times Food Editor

The day after turkey day is the easy one. Few are unwilling to repeat the Thanksgiving meal in its entirety at least once, even if smaller portions are in order. It's after the second go-round that the Thanksgiving menu begins to lose its appeal. That's when artful disguises for the faithful bird are in order.

Assuming that you have, of course, followed all the cardinal rules of food safety and removed the stuffing from the turkey and refrigerated it and the bird separately, this is the time to whet your knife and carve the bird down to manageable size. It's also a good time to be sure there is room in the freezer to freeze meal-size portions of all leftovers. The real fun begins when you try to figure out what to do with all the food so carefully and efficiently stashed away.

Not to worry . . . we have some out-of-the-ordinary suggestions that will conceal quite well the fact that Thanksgiving is being recycled for the third or fourth time.

Something as simple as a leftover turkey club sandwich can be served to brunch or luncheon guests with total elan when you try it our way. We replaced the usual bread with airy slices of crispy puff pastry, combined thin slices of turkey breast with avocados and tomatoes for color and added a tangy watercress mayonnaise for flavor. It's still a turkey club; but if you call it a Turkey Napoleon, it not only sounds more elegant, it makes a smashing light entree.

For a cocktail buffet or simply for something classy to serve when a few friends drop by, a Turkey Mousse Pate is the answer. This is the perfect way to use all those messy little bits and pieces of turkey that you otherwise might simply toss into a soup pot. Tiny hard-cooked quail eggs are hidden in the pate as a delightful surprise for an unsuspecting nibbler. But the best part is that if you don't tell anyone that this is a Thanksgiving leftover, no one will ever guess it.

Less unusual a use for the recycled bird is turkey salad. Ours is no ordinary turkey salad, however. The chunks of turkey--both white and dark meat--are tossed with tangerine segments, green grapes, toasted cashews and pomegranate seeds in a tangy honey-lime-ginger-flavored dressing. The seasonal ingredients and the compatible blend of textures and flavors make the salad a culinary masterpiece eminently suitable for a holiday celebration.

See how easy it is to hide leftovers when one's imagination is turned loose? Who knows, if you run out of leftover turkey, you just may want to rush out and buy more in order to try these and some of our other suggestions for serving the Thanksgiving star one more time.


1 (1-pound) package frozen puff paste sheets

Watercress Mayonnaise

8 to 12 slices cooked turkey breast

8 slices tomato

8 slices cooked bacon

1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into 8 slices

Watercress sprigs

Unroll puff paste sheets. Cut each sheet into quarters. Bake according to package directions or until puffed and golden. Remove to wire rack to cool.

To prepare Napoleons, lightly spread 4 puff paste quarters with Watercress Mayonnaise. Top each with 2 or 3 slices turkey, 2 slices tomato, 2 slices bacon, 2 slices avocado and several sprigs watercress. Spread small amount Watercress Mayonnaise on bottoms of 4 remaining puff paste quarters and place them, mayonnaise side down, on sandwiches. Makes 4 Napoleons.

Watercress Mayonnaise

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup watercress leaves

In blender container, combine egg, mustard, salt and lemon juice. With blender on, slowly add olive oil until mixture thickens and emulsifies. Add watercress leaves and continue blending until mixture is smooth and creamy. Makes about 1 cup.


6 cups ground cooked turkey

1 cup minced celery

1/2 cup minced onion

1/2 cup minced sweet pickle

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons tarragon mustard

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon minced tarragon leaves

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

3 cups turkey or chicken broth


White pepper

6 to 8 quail eggs, hard-cooked and peeled

Chopped toasted almonds

Assorted crackers

Combine turkey, celery, onion, pickle, mayonnaise, mustard, garlic and tarragon leaves. Sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup broth in small saucepan. Heat just until gelatin is dissolved. Blend gelatin mixture into remaining 2 1/2 cups broth. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Stir broth into turkey mixture, blending thoroughly. Pour into lightly greased 8-inch-square dish. Press quail eggs into turkey mixture in random pattern, just until they are completely concealed. Smooth top of pate, cover with foil or plastic wrap and chill.

To serve, turn pate out onto serving platter and press chopped almonds around edges. Cut into slices and serve on crackers. Makes about 32 servings.


4 cups cubed cooked turkey

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup seedless green grapes, halved

4 tangerines, peeled, seeded and sliced

1/2 cup sliced green onions

1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Honey-Lime Dressing

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