For some who love holiday food, the entire appeal of Thanksgiving is having delicious leftovers to experiment with in the kitchen.
In the days after the big meal, the flavors of the turkey, stuffing, gravy and vegetables mature and deepen, making the comfort food even more comforting.
We asked a group of gourmet chefs in the Tampa Bay area to take Turkey Day leftovers and invent new ways to enjoy their flavors.
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Andrew Basch, the new executive chef at Pelagia Trattoria in the Renaissance Tampa Hotel at International Plaza, plans to serve this dish at the restaurant the day after Thanksgiving. With butternut squash and sage, it's a belly-filling dish full of seasonal flavors.
Basch serves the risotto adorned with a gremolata that includes pumpkin seeds, an unusual touch.
"Some might think that the seeds are uncooked Arborio rice, but I love the flavor they give," he said.
Andrew Basch's Turkey Leg Risotto, Roasted Butternut Squash Finished with Pumpkin Seed and Cranberry Gremolata
Servings: as many as five
¼ white onion, minced
1 ½ stalks celery, minced
1 pound Arborio rice
1 ½ cup of white wine
3 quarts and 1 cup of vegetable stock (hot)
1 cup diced roasted butternut squash
1 to 2 turkey legs, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
½ cup Parmesan cheese
Bring three quarts of vegetable stock to a simmer. In a separate medium-sized pot over medium to high heat, melt half the butter.
Sauté the onion and celery for 2 minutes before adding the risotto. Toast the risotto for three minutes and deglaze with white wine.
Add 1 quart of vegetable stock, stir with a wooden spoon and simmer until most of the stock is absorbed. Add another quart of stock and repeat the last step. Add the last of the stock as needed (a cup at a time) along with the turkey and diced butternut.
When the rice is tender, but firm, take the pan off the heat and stir in the remaining butter, parmesan and sage. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate and garnish with Gremolata.
1 cup dry cranberries, chopped
1 cup roasted pumpkinseeds, chopped
Zest from 2 oranges
½ cup parsley, chopped
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Use it to garnish the risotto.
Chad Johnson, executive chef at SideBern's in Tampa, uses leftover stuffing as the bread in his Day After Sandwich. He presses refrigerated stuffing into a ring and then sears each disc on one side. The key to great flavor: Japanese mayonnaise mixed with Sriracha. He keeps a bottle of the Kewpie mayonnaise close by at home.
"Mix them together, and it's the same as the pink mayonnaise you get at a sushi restaurant," he said.
Chad Johnson's Day After Sandwich
Makes 1 large sandwich
1 1/2 cups cold stuffing (bread-based works better than cornbread stuffing)
5 ounces cold leftover turkey, sliced or shredded
1 1/2 tablespoons Kewpie (Japanese mayonnaise)
2 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce
½ cup arugula or lettuce
Split stuffing into two equal increments, pack in a ring mold applying heavy pressure to create two ¾-inch-thick disks
Preheat oil or butter in a nonstick pan and sear stuffing disks until dark golden brown and crunch on one side, drain on a paper towel
Mix Kewpie, Sriracha and turkey together in a bowl
Assemble sandwich using the stuffing disks as the bread, garnish with arugula and tomato
Robert Graham, executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, makes classic Eggs Benedict all the time at the resort. He also does one with a crab cake and another with smoked salmon.
This turkey version, which uses stuffing instead of a muffin as the base, came out so well, he's adding it to the menu as a day-after-Thanksgiving special.
"We tried it cold and it tasted fantastic."
16 ounces sliced turkey breast
16 ounces stuffing
8 ounces cranberry sauce
8 ounces hollandaise sauce
Form 8 patties with the stuffing and warm on the griddle. Poach eggs in simmering water to desired doneness. Top with turkey, cranberry sauce and hollandaise.
For the sauce:
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup clarified butter
Pinch of cayenne
Whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice in a bowl over simmering water until thickened and doubled in volume. Slowly whisk in warm butter. Season to taste with cayenne and salt.
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Henry Fiorillo, executive chef at Beachwood BBQ & Burger in St. Pete Beach, came up with several ideas for utilizing leftovers. Ultimately, he went with his simplest concept: a wrap.
"Put everything in there, wrap it up in the tortilla and press it to get it hot," Fiorillo said. "It also could be good cold, too -- like a cold turkey sandwich. It doesn't have to be complicated."
Henry Fiorillo's Thanksgiving Wrap
4 tortilla wraps
6 ounces leftover turkey
1 kitchen spoon stuffing
2 tablespoons cranberry relish
Layer all the ingredients in the wrap and roll up. Press the wrap on a panini press or some type of grill, until the center is warm.
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Habteab Hamde, executive chef at Bern's Steak House, used leftover stuffing and cranberries for a stuffed chicken dish and added a bit of the Bern's sophistication to the leftovers, with turkey gravy, flash-fried greens and an apple cranberry chutney.
Habteab Hamde's Stuffed Chicken
1 8-ounce butterflied chicken breast
2-3 cups leftover stuffing
1/2 cup heavy cream
Turkey stock to moisten
2 cloves garlic
1/2 stalk of celery
1 carrot, sautéed and deglazed with brandy
Generous portion of chopped chives, parsley, oregano and sage
Lay butterflied chicken breast flat and place stuffing evenly in the middle. Roll the chicken from end to end until the entire piece resembles a log.
Dust the rolled chicken with flour and paprika. Pan-sear the roll on all sides. When browned, finish in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
Slice the roll crosswise into medallions and place on fingerling potatoes.
Leftover turkey bones
1 carrot chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 head of whole garlic, cut in half
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon peppercorns
Put all ingredients into a large stew pot. Cover contents with cold water until the bones are covered with liquid. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. Strain mixture and save the stock. Discard solid ingredients.
1 teaspoon shallots, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups turkey stock
Sauté garlic and shallots until soft. Add flour. Add turkey stock and reduce to 1/4 cup.
Crushed Fingerling Potatoes
½ pound cooked fingerling potatoes
1/4 cup turkey stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
Put cooked potatoes into a bowl and mash several times with a fork. Add turkey stock and cream and mix until desired consistency.
Seared Spring Mix
1 cup spring mix salad greens
2 tablespoons oil
Heat oil in sauté pan. Toss greens for 10 seconds and remove.
Apple, Cranberry, and Ginger Relish
1/4 red onion
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup apple cider
1 red onion, chopped
Sauté onion until translucent. Add ginger, cranberries, sugar and apple cider on medium heat. Reduce until the mixture thickens.