ISSUE 47  |  Last-Minute Thanksgiving

Leftovers Lunch: Recipes for Thanksgiving Turkey

November 28, 2014 11:00 AM

BY Laura Silverman

In the wake of all that feasting, it’s hard to believe stomachs will growl once again. But a new day dawns, and here come the barbarian hordes, clamoring for lunch. Leftover turkey? Bring it on! Just remember, the secret to the best post-holiday eating is to something completely different.

Read on for step-by-step instructions for Turkey Tostadas:

Photography by Laura Silverman for Gardenista.

Above: With any luck, no fit of weary pique caused you to discard the carcass of that big bird. There’s gold in there. Make stock with the leftovers and use it to cook plain rice down to the comforting mush known as congee. Garnish it with leftover turkey, chopped peanuts, sliced scallions, and a drizzle of sesame oil.  

Above: Turkey stock also makes a delicious base for pozole, the Mexican stew of hominy (dried field corn) traditionally made with pork. Bits of leftover turkey swim in a rich broth finished with spicy red chili sauce and garnished with cilantro and crunchy radishes.

Above: Turn a mound of cold mashed potatoes into crisp pancakes. I load mine up with fresh herbs or cooked greens like chard or kale. Shape them into patties, pan-fry until golden-brown, and serve with a spoonful of cranberry sauce. Or make them bite-sized and freeze, then offer them at your next cocktail party as elegant hors d’oeuvres topped with smoked salmon or caviar.

Above: If you still have leftover turkey and are up for a bit of a project (what better way to occupy guests?), consider whipping up a batch of tamales. A soft cornmeal dough made with masa harina is stuffed and then wrapped in soaked corn husks, tied into little bundles, and steamed.

Above: A sautéed mix of turkey, vegetables, and jack cheese makes the perfect filling. These are delicious topped with a little fresh or cooked tomatillo salsa. Don’t have that on hand? Cranberry sauce also fits the bill! (Find ingredients for making tamales at Mexgrocer.) 

Above: For an equally rewarding but much quicker foray south of the border, make tostadas. Bake corn tortillas until crisp, then top them with a tangle of chopped leftover turkey cooked with onion, jalapeño, and spices. Layers of flavor and texture follow: hot sauce, shredded cabbage, avocado, cilantro, lime, and sour cream. It’s about as far away from Thanksgiving as you can get, and for this you’ll be truly grateful. 

Turkey Tostadas

Serves 4

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 3 to 4 cups diced leftover turkey 
  • 1/3 cup turkey stock
  • 2 cups finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup diced avocado 
  • 2 limes, quartered
  • 6 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro leaves, 
  • 8 tablespoons Mexican crema, or sour cream, thinned with a little milk or water
  • Hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place tortillas in a single layer on the baking sheets and lightly brush them on top with a little vegetable oil. Bake in the oven until they are crisp and golden, about 15 minutes, rotating the sheets half-way through.

Over medium high heat, warm a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Add onion, spices and jalapeño, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden. Add turkey and stock, and sauté until turkey is hot and liquid mostly evaporated. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. “¨

Divide the turkey between the crisp tortillas, then top each with a spoonful of hot sauce, a mound of cabbage, some avocado, a squeeze of lime, a sprinkle of cilantro leaves, and a drizzle of sour cream. Serve with a wedge of lime and pass more hot sauce on the side.

For more recipes, with and without turkey, join me at Glutton for Life.Ӭ

Still hosting and cooking for a crowd? May we suggest: