As we wind down our efforts on the site for the next few days and scatter like wind-blown dried stuffing crumbs for the holiday, I wanted to take a moment to wish our ever-growing Serious Eats community the happiest of Thanksgivings.
'thanksgiving' on Serious Eats
It's the inevitable result of every Thanksgiving feast: no matter how many guests you pack around your table and no matter how much they eat, you will have leftovers. We've rounded up the 31 best recipes to transform your leftovers and make them even better than they were on turkey day.
For plenty of folks, the real point of Thanksgiving comes later: the leftovers sandwich. And while most of us are happy with a little turkey and some cranberry sauce on toasted bread, chefs and food bloggers tend to get a little more creative.
Now supposing that you've got yourself a big 'ol pile of leftover turkey sitting in the fridge, and right next to it happens to be a batch of the mole poblano you made a few weeks back. There's only one possible outcome to this situation: turkey and mole enchiladas (or, if you want to get really technical about it, enmoladas).
These days, frying turkey is an American birthright. But it began as a Cajun specialty, little known outside crawfish country.
Nobody feels like cooking full meals the day after Thanksgiving, which is where leftovers come in. But you don't have to stick with the same old reheat-eat-repeat. By letting your slow cooker do most of the work for you, you can take those leftovers and transform them into brand new dishes with just a little bit of time and effort on your part. Here are three of my favorite recipes.
This green chili recipe incorporates leftover turkey with a salsa verde base containing tomatillos, serrano peppers, onions and garlic that are blasted under the broiler. It's given backbone from ancho powder, smokiness courtesy of cumin, and aromatics by way of oregano. It's then thickened with cornmeal, bolstered by white beans, and finished with all of the fixings.
Slow cooker turkey and andouille gumbo starts with sautéed veggies and a simple roux that's cooked until toasty on the stove. After broth is added it's transferred for a long simmer, one where Worcestershire sauce provides umami and depth and Louisiana-style hot sauce offers heat and tang. Meanwhile, background notes come from bay leaves and thyme, and its signature flavor arrives courtesy of smoked sausage, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne.
Leftover turkey soup incorporates oft-bypassed turkey wings and sautéed carrot, celery, onion and garlic, plus a mix of white and dark meats; aromatics, such as bay leaves, thyme and poultry seasoning; and some surprises, among them a lemon half, leftover white or sparkling wine and invitingly chewy Israeli couscous.
It's officially Thanksgiving crunch time. Deep breaths, no need to panic. We've got you covered with menus, planning tips, and shopping lists; taste tests of Thanksgiving supermarket staples; and plenty of features to peruse while the turkey's in the oven. But most of all, what we've got in true over-the-top, Thanksgiving style are recipes. Turkeys smoked, roasted, and cooked sous-vide; side dishes of all stripes; dozens of pies, cookies and cakes.
When I first started taking and answering questions for Thanksgiving a few years ago, I figured at most there'd be a few dozen. We're up to several hundred and counting, and every year we get more and more. This year's batch has focused heavily on sous-vide cooking and vegan/vegetarian options, both subjects close to my heart!
Leftover mashed sweet potatoes aren't easy to reheat and serve without turning them too dry or worse, scorching them on the bottom of a pan. Instead of trying, use them as the base for moist, tender, and delicious pancakes for breakfast.
The stories we tell about the foods traditionally heaped onto our Thanksgiving tables often start and end with visions of Plymouth Rock. But some of the first bites of the Thanksgiving feast can tell us quite a lot about the holiday's history.
The holiday season's not just for going all gluttonous with the classics—it's also for trying out something new, challenging, or even crazy ambitious in the kitchen and on your plate. No doubt you've seen our wall-to-wall holiday menu coverage, and that train's not stopping till the new year. But we want you to join in and strut your own stuff, Serious Eats style.
Smoked turkey stands in well for barbecued pork in a Carolina-style sandwich. The hot, vinegary sauce adds moisture to reheated turkey, which makes for some very fine drippings over coleslaw.
The Louisiana meal of red beans and rice is typically made with pork: smoked, salted, roasted, or pickled. Those all work well in this recipe (a pound of sliced and browned andouille sausage would be our choice), but the beans also shine with smoked turkey.
Smoked turkey replaces the more traditional choice of bacon in this rendition of braised collard greens. Nice and garlicky, the greens are spiced up with red chili flakes, with a bite of acidity from cider vinegar and lemon juice. And, since the turkey's pretty lean, we finish it off with some butter to give the pleasantly bitter, tender greens the rich, mouth-coating quality that pork belly typically provides.
Apple pie is THE pie of Thanksgiving. And we have both classic and totally gonzo versions for you.
Slices of turkey on top of a crisp stuffing waffle, all covered with a cheesy gravy sauce that gets broiled until browned and bubble before being topped off with a fried egg. This is the stuff morning-after-Thanksgiving dreams are made of.