Best Thanksgiving Leftovers Sandwich

Happy day-after Thanksgiving! Do you have tons of turkey in your fridge right now? Maybe you’re thinking about a turkey curry or risotto or soup? May I suggest the humble Thanksgiving sandwich? But this isn’t just any leftover turkey sandwich. It is (in my opinion) the very best sandwich you can make with your Thanksgiving leftovers.

And I don’t say that lightly. While I was at school I worked for a few years in a pretty great sandwich place and I’ve eaten a LOT of sandwiches over the years so I’d consider myself somewhat of a sandwich aficionado.

A good sandwich needs to be absolutely mouthwatering, leave you wanting just one more bite, it can’t be too soggy or too dry, and you have to think about the texture too – see, there’s a lot to think about in making a great sandwich. Here’s how I make mine:

You have to start with really great bread. Either soft fluffy white bread, or my preference is for lightly toasted bread (for a little crunch). For this I grab an English Muffin loaf by Maine bakery, Big Sky Bread (click here for more information including locations). It’s dense but not too dense and toasts up perfectly. 

Gather your sandwich filling ingredients. I have leftover turkey, leftover homemade sage, onion and sausage stuffing, and leftover bacon (it was covering the turkey as it cooked yesterday and preventing it from drying out). All tasty ingredients but used alone there’s the potential for your sandwich to be a little dry.

Avoid the sin of the dry sandwich by using cranberry relish and mixing up some mayo with finely shredded Brussel sprouts. Other options would be a little mashed avocado or maybe a spicy mayo. If your turkey is dry and you happen to have any leftover gravy, don’t be shy, brush it with a little of the gravy for extra deliciousness. 

And now the big secret to a non-soggy sandwich – BUTTER! Yes, you read it right. Butter isn’t really there for the flavor (although isn’t everything better with butter?), nope it’s there for it’s water-repelling properties. Cast your mind back to Chemistry lessons. Water and oil don’t mix right? That super thin layer of butter acts like a protective layer for your bread, stopping water from your mayo or cranberry relish seeping into the absorbent bread. Seriously – try it! Also highly recommended for chicken or tuna salad sandwiches. I like to toast the bread and let it cool slightly and then just spread a thin layer of butter:

Assemble the sandwiches. It’s your sandwich so alter the fillings/quantities as you like:
– thin layer of butter on toasted bread
– layer of stuffing (should be cooked of course!)
– spread a spoon of mayo/Brussel sprout mixture
– turkey slices
– cranberry relish or sauce (you can mix this with mayo but it goes a weird pink color)
– crispy bacon
– top with buttered toast slice

Eat just as they are or add a little radish/pickle/cornichon for bonus crunch! 

What are you doing with your turkey leftovers? I’m currently simmering the turkey carcass to make flavorful stock for soup later!

Get-Well-Chicken-Soup Recipe

Get-Well Chicken Soup Recipe
Take a deep breathe in through your nose. Ahhh, feels good right? You’re probably doing that more than 20,000 times a day and you’re not even thinking about it! That is, until you catch a cold and your nose goes on strike. Now you’re breathing through your mouth, going through boxes and boxes of tissues and everything you eat tastes like cotton wool.

When this happens in our house,  it’s time for “Get Well Chicken Soup” also known as “Chicken Tortellini Soup”. The get-well element comes from the generous amount of garlic which is known to stimulate the immune system. Officially the garlic should be raw to be more effective so if you’re feeling brave you could add some additional minced raw garlic just before serving. And then just don’t kiss anyone that hasn’t eaten the soup with you!

I got the recipe for this from my good friend Judy who would make this when her kids had a cold. It’s ridiculously easy and you can have it on the table in about 20 minutes. I’ll list the ingredients but it’s also one of those “throw in what you like” kind of soups. In terms of chopping – it’s your soup so decide if you want chunky vegetables or finely diced.

This is the quick and easy version with store-bought stock and a rotisserie chicken but if I’ve roasted a chicken for dinner I’ll make stock from the bones and use any leftover meat, it’s a lot tastier! You start by softening onion, celery and carrots in a little butter. Add as much garlic as you can bear and cook for a little longer.

Throw in the carton of chicken broth. Add the can of diced tomatoes. Add the shredded chicken meat. Cook for 5-10 minutes and then season to taste. As a cold can also dull your tastebuds I’ll also add a hefty shake of red pepper flakes but you don’t have to.

If you’re using frozen spinach, cook it according to the package instructions, drain off excess water and add it to the soup. If you’re using fresh spinach you can just add a small handful to the soup bowls and ladle in the hot soup over the top to wilt it.

Cook the tortellini according to the directions on the package (I prefer to cook it in a separate pan so the soup doesn’t get too starchy but you don’t have to). Fresh tortellini can disintegrate as it’s kind of delicate so dried works better. You can use cheese or spinach or whatever your favorite tortellini is! Serve in a warmed soup bowl with a hunk of crusty bread or even a little grated parmesan on top.

Get Well Chicken Soup

  • Servings: 4-6 bowls of soup
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 rotisserie chicken (skin removed and meat shredded)
5-10 carrots, chopped
1 onion, sliced
4 sticks of celery, chopped
4-8 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely sliced
1 carton of low-sodium chicken broth (or your own stock)
1 package of frozen spinach (or a bag of fresh baby spinach)
1 can of diced tomatoes (~14oz)
1 package of dried tortellini pasta, I like Barilla
A little oil or spoon of butter
Optional – red pepper flakes

1. In a large pan, melt the butter over a medium hear and cook for diced onion, carrot and celery for ~10 minutes until softened. Put on a separate pan of water to boil for tortellini.
2. Add the crushed/minced garlic and cook for another minute.
3. Pour in the carton of unsalted chicken stock. Add the can of diced tomatoes.
4. If using frozen spinach, cook according to package directions. If using fresh baby spinach you’ll just add it to the bottom of the soup bowls later.
5. Cook the dried tortellini according to the package directions (cooking it separately prevents the soup becoming too starchy).
6. Warm bowls in a low oven. Add a handful of fresh baby spinach, a big spoon or two of cooked tortellini and then ladle in the soup making sure each bowl has broth, chicken and vegetables.
To serve: Top with a little grated cheese (optional) and serve with warm crusty bread.

Healthy and hearty get-well chicken soup with tortellini

Eataly is coming to Boston!!!

“A 1/2 pound of prosciutto di Palma – sliced super thin please!” is something one might request in a cheery way at the deli. You get home and unwrap the wax paper hoping to see almost translucent slices of perfectly cured prosciutto but instead you find thick, leathery pieces of meat with a thickness closer to American cheese slices.

You’re so angry because you just spent $13 on too-thick slices of cured ham that smell/taste like wet dog because they’re so thickly sliced. Simultaneously, you feel guilty and shameful that you’re angry about your $13 of incorrectly sliced meat. You want to post about it somewhere, anywhere, probably with the hashtag #firstworldproblems which lets everyone know you’re being IRONIC right?!?!

And ^^^ is why I’m beyond excited that Eataly is coming to New England, Boston specifically. A few weeks ago I flew to NYC for work and while I was there I stopped in at Eataly. It was kind of torture to not be able to buy EVERYTHING in the store but I didn’t have a cooler or time to shop so I settled for a glass of wine and a little crudo instead.

What is Eataly?

The official description: Eataly is a retail and restaurant hybrid of fresh produce and grocery stands, food counters, and restaurants designed to recreate the high-energy feeling of an Italian piazza. The concept was introduced in Turin, Italy, in 2007 by businessman Oscar Farinetti, who partnered with famed chef Mario Batali and others to bring the megastore stateside to Manhattan in 2010.

My description: An Italian version of heaven on earth. Imagine a crazy-high end food court where you can choose from small-plate crudo to a salami tasting or perhaps a selection of cheeses, all paired with great wine and THEN you can go grocery shopping for the perfect cut of meat, fresh fish, just-baked loaf of bread and so much more.

Like this is maybe 50% of the mushrooms they had on sale that day: 

When is Eataly coming to Boston? 

The 44,000-square-foot food market will take over the existing food court at The Shops at Prudential Center. The market is expected to feature 15,000 products!!! A rooftop restaurant will be built above the market and a new entrance will be constructed along Boylston Street. Eataly Boston is expected to open in September 2016 and I can’t WAIT!!!!

It’s not just food – you can also find kitchen gadgets and cookbooks and more: 

I was happy to see Maine Pemaquid oysters! I think I’m going to have to limit myself to visiting no more than once a month otherwise my grocery budget will go through the roof! 

I’ve never seen so many rounds of Parmigiano Reggiano along with every other Italian cheese: 

Are you excited about Eataly?I can’t wait, I’ll still be shopping locally for delicious cheeses and meats in the meantime. Some of my favorites:
The Cheese Iron in Scarborough, Maine
Joppa Fine Foods in Newburyport, MA
Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, MA