Whether you reheat them in the microwave or stack them on slices of fresh bread, it’s hard to go wrong with Thanksgiving leftovers. But to help you take your after-Thanksgiving sandwich to gourmet levels, we talked to a pro—Stephen Yen, chef at The Ainsworth in midtown New York City. Thanks to its stuffing “bread” and tasty add-ons, we guarantee the entire family will want to gobble gobble his unique turkey sandwich.
Faux Bread Turkey Sandwich
For the “bread”:
3 cups leftover stuffing
3 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Nonstick cooking spray
For the filling:
3 lbs leftover turkey
For the cranberry relish:
1 cup leftover cranberry sauce
1 tbsp grape jelly
3–4 crisp bacon strips
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick pan spray. Spread stuffing evenly across pan, about 1.5” to 2.5” thick. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 20 minutes, checking every 15 to 20 minutes thereafter (Note: Cooking times will vary according to the liquid content of the stuffing, but 40 to 45 minutes is a good ballpark estimate. If the stuffing is too dry, mix it with an egg or two and the oil before baking to help bind it together). Remove stuffing from oven when it has achieved the consistency of lightly toasted bread; cut into bread-sized pieces and cool.
- Mix the leftover cranberry sauce and grape jelly. Set aside.
- Assess the turkey. If it’s a bit dried out, consider rehydrating it with a little gravy until it is moist.
- Place a slice of stuffing “bread” on a plate. Layer on lettuce, a generous helping of turkey, a scoop of cranberry relish, tomato and crisp bacon slices. Top with another slice of “bread” and serve.
Don’t feel like following Chef Yen’s amazing recipe? That’s okay. Thanksgiving leftovers are forgiving, offering plenty of options for stews, nachos, tacos, casseroles and hearty sandwiches. Here are some of his other delicious takes:
Make it a Waldorf
Mix shredded turkey with mayo, chopped apples, raisins, walnuts and halved grapes and pile it onto your favorite bread or bun. For a healthier version, replace the mayo with Greek yogurt.
Make it a BLT
That’s Bacon Lettuce Turkey, but you can add tomato, too. A nice ripe avocado slice and a sprinkling of salt will also taste divine. Chef Yen suggests serving your seasonal BLT on toasted pumpernickel, rye or sourdough bread.
Make it a Cubano
Slather a Cuban loaf or brioche bun on both sides with homemade honey mustard sauce (mix 1 cup each of whole-grain mustard and honey mustard, 1 tsp rice wine vinegar and 1 tbsp each of mayo and honey together). Top with turkey, slices of ham, thinly sliced bread and butter pickles and Swiss or Gruyere cheese. Toast it in a panini press for best results.
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