Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches are perhaps as important to the holiday as the meal itself. They also raise important questions like, what is the point of the big family dinner if I enjoy this food more cold, and by myself? And also: why am I doing the exact same thing that everyone else like me is doing right now? Does free will exist?
And while we can’t answer bigger questions Thanksgiving leftovers pose, we can help you get a little bit more creative with your Black Friday lunch, perhaps providing better fortification for navigating the crush of plump, well-fed shoppers who will descend upon your local shopping mall that day. You’ll want to have a good meal, because otherwise you’ll spend 30 minutes in line at Great Steak and Potato and live with that decision for the rest of your life.
So without any further ado, here are a couple ideas for a delicious, cheap Thanksgiving Leftover Brunch:
Turkey Hash and Eggs:
Canned food and crummy diners have given breakfast hashes a bad name. It’s really quite easy to make a delicious hash, it just takes patience. Try it with leftover turkey.
Take leftover turkey meat and shred it into bite-sized bits. Peel a couple potatoes an dice them into half-inch bits. Do the same to an onion and a Poblano pepper. Get a pan hot and add a generous layer of cooking oil. Wait until it shimmers, and add the diced potatoes turning them only occasionally — you want them to get crisp. After they have cooked for a while, add your onions, peppers, and garlic if you like. Hit it with some hot sauce, cayenne pepper, or paprika if you want. Don’t move it. Let it brown. Let everything get nice and burnt. Add your shredded turkey meat. Turn the hash as best as you can and let it brown on the other side.
Serve topped with poached or fried eggs. Put gravy on it if you want, we don’t care.
Relleno de Papa (con pavo!):
Anyone who has lived in Bushwick long enough knows just how delicious cuchifritos — Caribbean fried snacks — can be, given the right mood. Perhaps the day after Thanksgiving isn’t a time you’re thinking of fried food, but how often do you have leftover mashed potatoes just sitting around, practically asking to be fried? Precisely.
Take some of your leftover turkey meat, dice it up. Set it aside. Saute an onion, some garlic, and a bell pepper — all finely diced — with some cumin and cilantro. Add the turkey once the onion is translucent. Let it get a little brown, and take the mixture off the heat.
Now, split your leftover mashed potatoes into evenly-sized balls, smaller than your fist. Make an indentation into each, and put about a tablespoon and a half of the turkey filling into it. Wrap the mashed potatoes back around the filling.
Get an inch of oil very hot in a deep frying pan, and fry the balls in the oil until golden brown, turning once. Eat with gravy if you like, we’re not watching.
OK, this has nothing to do with brunch. But listen up — it’s more important.
You’ll have a whole lot of turkey bones lying around, and these are great for making delicious homemade stocks, lower in sodium than the store-bought stuff, and therefore the only thing healthier on this list than anything you could get at the Great Steak and Potato. Best of all, if you can’t find a use for a stock immediately after making it, you can always freeze it.
What to Do
Take your turkey bones, and strip the meat off of them and reserve it for some other use (see above). Put the bones in a deep bowl and sprinkle them in a generous layer of salt, and then enough water to just cover. Let this sit for 30 minutes, then drain.
Don’t ask why on this step, but it’s totally necessary, we think.
Put the bones in a stockpot and cover with as much water as you like, and bring to boil. For the first half hour, spend some time with the pot, and skim off the foam as it comes to the surface. After this, add a small chopped carrot, a couple ribs of chopped celery, a large chopped onion, a couple of bay leaves, a few smashed garlic cloves, about ten peppercorns, and some fresh herbs if you happen to have any left over. Bring the heat down, and let the mixture simmer for three hours.
Go to the mall while it simmers, no one will know the difference. Eat at Great Steak and Potato.
Strain the stock to remove bones and vegetables. Now you have turkey stock, and all your holiday shopping done! Cook orzo in it. Cook soups with it. Braise meats with it. But do not add gravy to it.
Now, wasn’t that more interesting than a sandwich?