I realize that, since it’s two days before Thanksgiving, leftovers don’t yet exist (nor, for that matter, do the dishes that will become them), but in the spirit of the meticulous food planning that may govern this week, I figured we should get ahead of the curve.
Seven years ago, I published a piece in the Times Magazine called “A Radical Rethinking of Thanksgiving Leftovers.” It’s a list of mini recipes (somewhere between ideas and full-on instructions) for what to do with the four Thanksgiving leftovers that many of us are most likely to have lying around come Friday: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. It remains my favorite collection of Thanksgiving leftover recipes that I’ve done and, rather than re-jigger the whole thing, I’ve turned it into the equivalent of an album with bonus tracks. Version 2.0 (scroll down) includes all of the original recipe ideas, many of which have been updated to weave in different ingredients and flavor profiles, along with a handful of recipes that in the original piece were (due to space restrictions) left on the cutting room floor.
Of course, your leftovers may not match these exactly, but there’s enough variety here for you to find at least a few things that will work for what you’ve got on hand. At the very least, consider these “recipes” as a way to stimulate your imagination past the point of the requisite next-day sandwiches. With that, let me (for the last time) wish you good luck cooking your pre-leftovers (aka Thanksgiving dinner), and have a wonderful holiday.
Yunhee Kim for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.
Come Friday morning, there's a decent chance (if you're hosting) that you'll have some combination of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce hanging out in your fridge. If you're down to eat reheated Thanksgiving food for the next week, this is a dream scenario; if not, you might be thinking about how to repurpose it all into something a little different. For those of you in that latter camp, here are some of my favorite ideas for transforming Thanksgiving leftovers.