There were only three of us at the table this year, and we cooked on Tuesday rather than Thursday. All the same, our Thanksgiving Dinner embraced family tradition. The only departure from the expected menu was that we elected to skip the Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Pecans. Still our table was graced with The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey, Bread Stuffing, Southern Style Green Beans, Corn Salad with Pecan Dressing, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Pumpkin Yeast Braids and a Rustic Apple Pie.
The fragrance from the kitchen was delightful! Though it was 70 degrees outside that Thanksgiving scent wafted out the window and into the garden as I took a short break from the cooking. Sitting there that scent finally brought the season home. Though this past year has been one of abundant change for my family, those things that are timeless endure. We have so much to be thankful for, not the least of which is this beautiful weather, that tempting scent emanating from the kitchen and the wonderful warm memories it evokes.
Looking Forward to Leftovers
It was a delicious meal, and though the leftovers are unusually plentiful it is hard to take exception with a refrigerator full of family favorites. The challenge is to find new ways of combining those old favorites into tempting meals. That task doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes the smallest variations can lend a bright new perspective.
One welcome addition to the leftover lineup this year was one whole untouched Pumpkin Yeast Braid. It is my youngest son’s favorite but since he was not able to join us this year there was enough left to slice for sandwiches. As we prepared a picnic lunch for Wednesday's visit to the waterfront at Mud Island that’s where I started.
An Amazing Turkey Sandwich
First I gently toasted the Pumpkin Yeast Braid slices, just enough to add body and lend a slight golden color.
Then I piled on some slices from the herb roasted breast of our Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey, and few chunks of dark meat as well.
To the turkey I added bacon strips that weren’t used since we skipped the Sweet Potatoes with Bacon and Pecans.
Finally I added a thick layer of Cranberry Sauce. In our house that is most often the jelled stuff from a can, my daughter’s favorite, but a heartier cranberry sauce would work just as well.
They were pretty sandwiches!
Still it wasn’t until we got down to the riverfront that I discovered how good these sandwiches really are. That brown sugar sweetness of the golden bread slices was a perfect counterpoint to the tart cranberry relish and the salty strips of bacon. Beneath it all the abundance of sliced turkey tasted rich and satisfying while lending a delicate infusion of herbs that added charming accent notes and gave a sense of completion to the composition.
Though turkey sandwiches are one of my favorite holiday outcomes, we still have a good bit of turkey to look forward too. At my house that might mean Cashew Turkey Casserole or a turkey variation on Chicken and Dumplings made with homemade Turkey Stock.
What is your favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers?