These leftovers come together as a light, flavorful, seasonal, and elegant brunch for all your relatives the day after Thanksgiving. The point with leftovers is: the less it looks like last night's dinner, the more you'll want to eat it.
The first recipe uses leftover turkey, but has nothing to do with the traditional white bread, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and turkey sandwich. My Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwich piles very thinly-sliced turkey breast with crispy bacon leftover from breakfast, a fresh lemon mayonnaise made with juice and zest, frisee lettuce, and Munster cheese, all sandwiched in a thin baguette or ficelle. It can be served cold or pressed like a panini. The result is hearty, but light from the lemon and the frisee, and very flavorful and proper and classy. It's a lovely sandwich.
For dessert, I make use of probably every leftover dessert item you may have lying around, plus cranberry sauce. For my Leftover Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Parfait, I crumble together the crust of a pumpkin pie, some leftover pound cake, and ginger cookies (anything would work) with amaretto, layer that with a custard made by mixing together the pumpkin pie filling and left-over vanilla ice cream (from the à la mode pie), and top with fresh cinnamon whipped cream. The crowning jewel: a syrup made of water, sugar, and cranberry sauce. The result is beautiful, modern, complex, but a cinch to make.
To serve alongside these recipes, drop a shot of pomegranate juice and a spoonful of pomegranate seeds in the bottom of each Champagne flute. Then top with sparkling wine.
I love these recipes because they are a departure from the Thanksgiving dinner, so good at the time, but so overwhelming to have to repeat day in and day out until the turkey is finished. Because I've done a sandwich and essentially a trifle, the measurements are not important--they can be suited to any amount of leftovers. The ingredients that are not the leftovers themselves are ingredients found in every pantry (in the sandwich, the Munster and frisee could be substituted for any cheese and lettuce). These dishes are gourmet, but take minutes to make. They are elegant enough to serve to guests, and comforting enough to eat in front of the TV. These are leftovers done right.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is a Serious Eats intern and the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way.