May 24, 2018
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Cooks get creative with the remains of a Thanksgiving feast

Ryan Mcvay Getty Images | BDN
Ryan Mcvay Getty Images | BDN
Stack of gifts inside refrigerator
By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

After the dishes have been done, the aunts and uncles have headed back down the interstate, and feet are resting comfortably in front of the Patriots game, phase two of Thanksgiving begins. Call it “Turkey Day 2: Revenge of the Leftovers.”

As anyone who has stared down a bowl of slowly gelatinizing gravy can attest, there’s always a mess of leftovers to contend with in the days after Thanksgiving. Somebody will have stuffing for breakfast. Somebody will eat cold green bean casserole while watching David Letterman in his or her underwear. And somebody will toss out a plastic container of mashed potatoes by Monday afternoon.

For those who want to use all that food and don’t want to resort to turkey tetrazzini and Thanksgiving sandwiches every day for the next week, there are lots of recipes out there using leftovers in novel and often very delicious ways. We asked Bangor Daily News readers to send us their favorite dishes, and they responded with some tasty variations on holiday classics.

Today’s poll

Thanksgiving leftovers:
Love them or hate them?


Let’s start with the star of the show: turkey. Jaye Winkel of Waldoboro e-mailed to tell us about the decadent Turkey Chowder she has made with leftover turkey for years now. She got the recipe from Yankee magazine, and it has become a holiday staple ever since.

“I’ve been making it for about 15 years,” said Winkel. “It never gets old and we never have enough. It’s good the first day, but as with most soups, it’s even better the day after it’s made.”

Another Thanksgiving staple, squash, highlights the quiche recipe sent to us by Karen Kurt of Bangor. The combination of acorn or butternut squash with savory onions and creamy Gruyere or Swiss cheese is a winning one.

“We eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner,” said Kurt. “I actually make extra squash each year so I can make it. I found it in a magazine years and years ago and I make it every year.”

For a less involved recipe, BDN staffers gave us two excellent ideas. BDN film critic Christopher Smith shared a recipe by Food Network star Ina Garten (better known as the Barefoot Contessa), for Chicken Veronique, a sweet and savory salad made with grapes, celery and tarragon. It’s good on its own or on a sandwich. Though it is traditionally made with roasted chicken, a swap with roasted turkey works just as well.

The BDN’s Knox County reporter, Heather Steeves, shared her spin on the Thanksgiving sandwich, one that she came up with when faced with piles of leftovers and only a mostly empty University of Maine dorm room fridge to work with for additional ingredients. The Thanksgiving Waffle features the same lineup of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce as the famed sandwich — but instead of bread, use frozen waffles, and instead of gravy, use maple syrup.

“I invented this my senior year in college when my dad sent me back to Maine with a huge bag full of leftovers,” said Steeves. “Aside from the leftovers, the only foods I had inside my dorm apartment were frozen waffles and maple syrup. So I invented the Thanksgiving Waffle.”

Finally, you can even make dessert out of T-Day grub by mixing leftover cranberry sauce with Grand Marnier orange liqueur and orange juice, heating it, and pouring it over vanilla ice cream or pound cake. You can make the call whether you want to pair it with hot fudge.

The Thanksgiving Day bounty comes only once a year, so why not get creative with your food? Enjoy!


Winter Squash, Onion and Gruyere Quiche
Serves 6-8.
2 cups mashed or pureed acorn or butternut squash
1 small onion, diced
Olive oil
1 pie crust, store-bought or homemade
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 eggs
¾ cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat small amount of olive oil in pan and saute diced onion until slightly translucent. Fold onions into squash with rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Crack eggs into 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 2 cups. Whisk eggs and milk together. Add to squash mixture; blend well.

Place crust in pie pan and prick bottom with fork. Spread small amount of the cheese on bottom of crust. Pour in squash and onion mixture. Top with rest of the cheese. Bake for 40 minutes, until quiche is set and cheese is golden and bubbling.
Recipe courtesy of Karen Kurt.


Turkey Salad Veronique
Serves 4.
4 cups diced turkey breast
Good olive oil
Salt and pepper
½ cup good mayonnaise
1½ tablespoons chopped tarragon
1 cup diced celery
1 cup green grapes, cut in half

Toss diced turkey breast in a little olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Blend with mayonnaise, tarragon, celery and grapes and more salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a bed of lettuce, or with toasted baguette or croissants. Optionally, add a handful of almonds or pecans.
Recipe courtesy of Christopher Smith, adapted from Ina Garten.


Turkey Chowder
Serves 12.
¼ pound bacon, diced
2 large onions, chopped
1 carrot, diced
4 ribs celery, chopped
¼ cup unbleached flour
1 pound red-skinned Maine potatoes, diced but not peeled
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken or turkey stock, preferably homemade
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups diced cooked turkey
2 cups heavy cream
Chopped parsley for garnish

In large soup pot, brown bacon. Remove, leaving fat in pan. Reserve bacon. Saute onion, carrot and celery in fat until soft. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add potatoes to flour mixture. Remove from heat and add thyme, pepper, salt, bay leaf, stock and wine. Stir well. Cook over low heat 45 minutes. Add turkey and cooked bacon; heat for 10 minutes. Add cream and cook for 5 minutes (do not boil). Fill soup bowls and sprinkle with parsley.
Recipe courtesy of Jaye Winkel, adapted from Yankee magazine.


Thanksgiving Waffle
Serves 1
1 frozen waffle
2 heaping spoonfuls stuffing (cold)
2 heaping spoonfuls mashed potato (cold)
As much cut-up leftover turkey as you’d like (cold)
1 heaping spoonful cranberry sauce (cold)
Maple syrup (to taste)

Place waffle on plate. Pile ingredients in this order on top of waffle: stuffing, potato, turkey, cranberry sauce. Microwave for about two minutes on high. Remove, and drizzle all over with maple syrup. Preferably enjoy between the hours of 10 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Recipe courtesy of Heather Steeves.


Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce
Serves 6.
1½ cups leftover cranberry sauce
2-3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
¼ cup orange juice

Combine ingredients in saucepan, thoroughly stirring to combine. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Serve warm over ice cream, angel food cake or pound cake, with or without hot fudge.


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