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Thanksgiving Leftover Specialties

Tomorrow is a day for friends and family. It is a day when those of us who can stand to see our relatives will wake up bright-eyed and ready to join together for the annual feast of merriment and gluttony. But what about the next day?

While some may know of the day after Thanksgiving as “Black Friday”, I prefer to look on the bright side and go with a more festive moniker: National Leftover Day. Anyone who has woken up on such a day with his appetite recovered is familiar with the turkey classics of soup and sandwiches, but I’ve put together a few new ideas that many may not have heard of.

Gobbler Pie: The first item on the menu is an extension of the basic Thanksgiving formula, put into the form of a Shepherd’s Pie. To start, take a casserole dish or pie plate and grease the bottom with butter. Next, layer the leftover ingredients in, starting with stuffing, shredded turkey and cranberry sauce. Depending on the leftovers available, roasted sweet potatoes or corn could be added, but make sure to top everything off with gravy and mashed potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and serve hot.

Thanksgiving Latkes: This recipe is inspired by the traditional Jewish dish of potato pancakes, but with a turkey twist. Start off by taking about ¼ lb of turkey and dicing it into small pieces. Next, take one pound of cheesy mashed potatoes (shredded mozzarella can be added to normal mashed potatoes to achieve this effect), mix in the turkey, and form into 1.5-inch diameter patties. Bring a skillet of vegetable oil to medium heat and add the patties, cooking them for approximately two minutes on each side or until golden-brown. These can be served alone, or combined with our next dish to create a crispy-sweet combo.

Cranberry Sauce Fritters: While many food buffs will sneer at pre-made cranberry jelly, it is a personal favorite of mine. This simple recipe allows you to dress up the canned classic with a bit of flair.

First, remove the cranberry jelly from the can, making sure that it remains in one piece, and slice it into ½ inch thick rounds. Next, place jelly slices onto waxed paper and inset them into the freezer for about five hours, or until frozen. This ensures that the sauce will not simply melt like the Wicked Witch of the West when cooked. Next, prepare the batter by combining equal parts cornstarch and whole milk with a pinch of salt and sugar. Once the cranberry slices are frozen, pre-heat the frying pan and dredge the slices in flour, followed by the batter, and quickly fry on high heat until crispy and brown.

Dry on a plate of paper towels and top with powdered sugar for a knock-out appetizer.

Turkey-Day Salad: For those who prefer something a little bit easier on the waistline, a Thanksgiving-themed salad is the perfect way to follow up a day of gorging. For this dish, simply cut white meat turkey breast into thin strips and cook in a dry skillet until hot. Place the turkey over a bed of arugula greens, adding dried cranberries and any spiced pecans or walnuts that may be left over. Dress with raspberry vinaigrette and serve for a sweet and savory lunch item.

The Deep-Fried Gobbler: Now that you’ve gotten the lighter fare out of the way and eaten your daily allotment of veggies, it is time for the main attraction. For this recipe you will need a table-top deep fryer, one ball of pre-made all-purpose pizza dough, and a death wish. The deep-fried gobbler is the heart-stopping final destination of the timeless thanksgiving leftover sandwich, and it is sure to please.

First, pre-heat your fryer to 350 degrees. Next, take the turkey for your sandwich and toss it in flour, milk, and flour once again to ensure an even coating before lightly deep-frying. Remember that this meat is already cooked, so the only goal here is to get it crispy and hot.

Once this is done, roll out half of the pizza dough into a square. Begin stacking your standard gobbler ingredients of stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce and gravy into the middle of the dough. Feel free to use the fried variations of the sandwich stuffers discussed earlier, but make sure that all the ingredients are at least room-temperature.

Finally, roll the entire beast into the shape of a sub, making sure that there are no holes in the dough through which gravy or sauces may leak. Coat in flower, fry until golden-brown and let cool slightly before enjoying the unhealthiest treat since the invention of donuts.

Hopefully, when this Friday rolls around, you will be inspired to go beyond the average leftover platter. By all means, make that soup and enjoy that plate of day-old turkey, but remember that it is still a holiday. This is National Leftover Day. Celebrate in style.

Andrew Sheridan can be reached at asher1@student.umass.edu.

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