Thanksgiving Leftovers

Posted by Robert on November 22nd, 2010


I know a man who never has to eat leftovers.

He’s adamant about it, and his wife consents. He is a lucky man indeed.

Though I have always suspected that after Thanksgiving he changes his philosophy, tiptoes into the kitchen while everyone is asleep, sneaks a few leftovers, and eats them by the light of the refrigerator.

Thanksgiving leftovers are the best. I can make several meals out of leftover dressing and gravy. Like chili or gumbo, the flavors in cornbread dressing seem to intensify after a day or two in the refrigerator.

Most days I would rather have a leftover dark-meat turkey sandwich on toasted wheat bread with homemade mayonnaise, lettuce, salt, and pepper than the center-of-the-plate Thanksgiving Day bird with all of the trimmings. That goes double if the leftover turkey is smoked.

I have been known to make turkey salad sandwiches, turkey pasta salad, turkey pie, and turkey tetrazzini. Though I am not sure any of those dishes are better than a turkey sandwich and a football game on Thanksgiving night after all of the family excitement has subsided and the main meal is over.

Leftovers bring out emergency creativity. Sometimes leftovers turn into something completely different than the original dish intended. My mother could make “hash” out of anything. If it was leftover for a second day, it was going to become some type of hash. She was a fan of corned beef hash and often made a roast beef hash served over rice, but through the years we ate some pretty strange things in the name of hash, the least of which was tuna hash— a fate, almost, worse than death.

I have never made turkey hash, but if I were to do so, the day after Thanksgiving would be the perfect time.

Several Thanksgivings ago, one of my chefs made my wife’s vegetable side-dish sweet potato recipe and, later that day, turned it into a dessert. I had never thought of this before, though I don’t know why— the recipe contains four cups of sugar.

As she tells it, they were kicked back later in the afternoon, recounting the meal, and critiquing the various courses, when he said, “I think I’ll have some more of those sweet potatoes, for dessert,” and sweet potato cobbler was born.

We serve Sweet Potato Cobbler in the Crescent City Grill, today, with a side of vanilla ice cream. It’s a popular feature.

There aren’t too many dishes that can double as a vegetable side dish and a dessert. Actually, I can’t think of any other dish that fills those two roles. Cranberry-tuna hash, anyone?

Jill’s Sweet Potatoes

4 cups Sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed
3 cups Sugar
4 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Heavy cream
3 sticks Butter, divided
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Rice Krispies
2 cups Pecans, chopped
1 cup Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Combine hot sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, cream, half of the butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl; mix thoroughly. Add sweet potato mixture to greased casserole dish.

Combine Rice Krispies, pecans, walnuts and remaining butter and brown sugar into a bowl. Mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over sweet potato mixture.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until center is hot. Yield:10-12 servings


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