This day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast, made with sliced turkey served over a stuffing waffle, along with a fried egg, gravy, and cheese, gets its inspiration from a French croque-madame, the classic egg-and-cheese-topped ham sandwich, but the idea all started when I asked myself one simple question: Why are there no recipes for cheesy gravy? Why are cheese sauces always based on thickened milk instead of thickened stock?
Gravy, as all-American as it sounds, is technically a variation of a French velouté, a sauce made by thickening a light stock with a roux made of flour and butter, which in turn is extremely similar to béchamel (aka white sauce), a sauce consisting of milk thickened with flour and butter.
Béchamel happens to be the base for many sauces, including sauce Mornay, the cheesy white sauce we put in our mac & cheese and the French ladle over their croques-madames sandwiches. So if we can make a cheese sauce out of béchamel, why not a velouté?
This question was easy to answer: I reheated some leftover gravy from my fridge until simmering, removed it from heat, and whisked in a big handful of grated Comté cheese (Gruyère or Emmenthaler would work just as well). The result was something far tastier than a traditional white sauce-based cheese sauce. Rich with roasted turkey flavor and nutty, sharp cheese, with a glossy, gooey texture just begging to be draped over some hot sliced turkey and broiled.
So that's exactly what I did.
This sandwich isn't as over-the-top as many post-Thanksgiving sandwiches are—at least in terms of sheer volume of ingredients. But what it lacks in volume it makes up for in intensity. I start by making a batch of stuffing waffles (which, for the record, are the single tastiest thing to ever come out of my waffle iron). I place the waffle in an oven-safe skillet or a foil-lined broiler pan.
Next, I top it off with slices of turkey. You can use whatever meat you'd like, but I used slices of my sous-vide turkey breast. Next comes that gravy cheese sauce, along with a little extra sprinkle of grated cheese. The whole thing parks a spot under a moderate broiler while I fry an egg on the stovetop.
Once the gravy-covered turkey has browned and bubbled nicely, it comes out of the oven, the egg goes on top, I ladle a bit more gravy over just the whites of the egg, and sprinkle the whole thing with salt, pepper, and chopped fresh herbs.
Looks insanely good, right? It was. And yours will be. I promise.