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Leftovers: Last, But Not Least

Part of the fun of Thanksgiving also may be everyone's favorite tradition: leftovers.

Chef Tori Ritchie has great ways to put turkey leftovers to use, and we don't mean plain old turkey sandwiches, either!

Ritchie suggests you do something different, though, with your leftovers. Instead of making your everyday turkey sandwich, she says you could make a delicious Cobb salad, a potpie, soup, or even a turkey panini.

A panini is a small, hot, pressed sandwich. You could use small rolls, Italian bread or French bread.

The grilled panini is the latest thing heating up the U.S. The panini, which means "sandwich" in Italian, is quickly becoming a lunchtime favorite at delis and cafes around America. Ritchie's leftover-laden panini uses a wide range of ingredients, including the delicious cranberry relish.

Ritchie's talents extend beyond the kitchen: She also suggests making lovely boxes for guests to use to take home the leftovers you give them.

Next-Day Turkey Sandwich Kit

On the day after Thanksgiving, indulging in a turkey sandwich is a ritual almost as beloved as the holiday dinner itself. With a little preparation, you can turn the meal's leftovers into a thoughtful gift for a guest to take home.

Line craft-paper boxes, which can be found at art supply or restaurant supply stores (or ask a favorite restaurant to sell you a few) with sheets of parchment (baking) or waxed paper.

Tie each box with a pretty ribbon and tuck a fresh herb sprig, such as sage, rosemary, or bay, under the bow.

Pack each box with slices of turkey slipped into a zippered plastic bag, then in colored tissue or parchment, along with a small container filled with stuffing and cranberry relish.

Attach a gift tag or label that describes what's inside or conveys a simple, personal Thanksgiving message.


Cobb Salad

This salad includes hard-cooked eggs. It's easy to overcook them, giving the yolks an unsightly greenish tinge and a dry texture.

This gentle method ensures good results: Put the eggs in a saucepan and add cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When the water begins to boil, remove from the heat, cover and let the eggs stand in the water for 20 minutes. Rinse under cold running water until cool, then peel. Traditionally, Cobb salad is made with Roquefort cheese, which gives a richness and tang to the dressing as well as to the salad. If you prefer a milder blue cheese, try Danish or Maytag.

3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled
8 bacon slices
1 head romaine lettuce, leaves separated and torn into bite-size pieces
2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. minced fresh chives, plus several longer chive lengths for garnish
2 cups chopped watercress (tough stems removed)
4 cups diced cooked turkey or chicken (see note)
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and diced
2 tomatoes, chopped 1/4 lb. plus 1 oz. Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed and then minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cut the hard-cooked eggs into 1/2-inch dice. Set aside. In a fry pan over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool, crumble and set aside. Make a bed of lettuce on a platter or shallow bowl. Mix together the parsley and minced chives. Arrange the eggs, bacon, mixed minced herbs, watercress, turkey, avocados, tomatoes and the 1/4 lb. cheese in a neat pattern atop the lettuce, in rows or in a checkerboard pattern, covering the lettuce almost completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Using a fork, mash in the remaining 1 oz. cheese to make a paste. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form a thick dressing. Pour a little of the dressing over the salad and garnish with chive lengths. Serve immediately. Pass the remaining dressing at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Note: Use leftover roasted turkey or chicken in this salad. If you have none on hand, poach some chicken breasts. Put 4 or 5 chicken breast halves in a large saucepan and add lightly salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Discard the skin and bones and cut the meat into bite-size pieces. Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Salad, by Georgeanne Brennan (Simon & Schuster, 2001).

Turkey Pot Pie

Chock-full of turkey and vegetables, this savory pie is the ultimate comfort food. Our recipe includes pearl onions, which are easy to peel when you follow these instructions.

Ingredients for the pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
3 to 4 Tbs. ice water

Ingredients for the filling
3 cups turkey or chicken stock
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
15 pearl onions
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 small red potatoes, cut into eighths
2 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup peas
4 oz. white button mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

To make the pastry, in a food processor, combine the flour and salt and pulse once to mix. Add the butter and vegetable shortening and process in short pulses until pea-size crumbs form, 25 to 30 seconds. While pulsing, add the water 1 Tbs. at a time until large, moist crumbs form, 10 to 12 seconds. Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. To make the filling, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the stock, thyme and bay leaf to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool. Remove the thyme and bay leaf and discard. Bring a large saucepan half full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pearl onions and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the onions, rinse under cold water and drain again. Trim off the root ends, then cut a shallow "X" into each trimmed end and slip off the skins. Set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Whisk in the reserved stock, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Continue boiling, whisking often, until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the carrot, celery, potatoes and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add the turkey, peas and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to a 9-inch deep-dish ceramic pie dish. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a 12-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Arrange the pastry evenly over the filling and trim the edges, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold under the excess dough and flute the edge decoratively with your thumb. Make 4 or 5 slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Place the dish in the oven on a piece of aluminum foil to catch any spills. Bake the pot pie until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6. Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

Roast Turkey Vegetable Soup with Rice

Next time you serve a roast turkey, use the leftovers to make this comforting soup. Cut off any meat that's clinging to the bones and wrap it so it doesn't dry out. Then use the carcass to make the stock.

Ingredients for the turkey stock
Carcass from roast turkey
3 to 3 1/2 quarts water, or as needed
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
3 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
5 Tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2/3 cup peeled and diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
2/3 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups diced cooked turkey
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)

To make the stock, with your hands, break the carcass into big pieces and place them in a large stockpot with water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour, skimming as needed. Add the onion, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Cover partially and continue to simmer for about 1 1/2 hours more.

Line a chinois or other fine-mesh sieve with damp cheesecloth, pour the stock through the sieve into a large saucepan and return to high heat. Bring to a boil, adjust the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, uncovered, skimming if needed, until reduced to about 8 cups, about 1 hour. Remove from the heat and refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled, about 6 hours, then lift off and discard the fat solidified on top. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 3 Tbs. oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring often, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside. Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat, add the broccoli florets and cook until tender but not falling apart, about 5 minutes. Drain, immerse in cold water to stop the cooking, drain again and set aside. Add the turkey, mushrooms, broccoli and thyme to the saucepan and continue to cook until all the ingredients are heated through, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and sprinkle with the parsley or cheese, if using. Serves 6 to 8. Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Soup for Supper, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1998).

Thanksgiving Panini

Olive oil for brushing
2-1/2-inch slices country bread
1 Tbs. mayonnaise
2 Tbs. (1 1/2 oz.) cranberry relish
2 to 3 slices (3 oz.) roasted turkey
1/2 cup (2 oz.) crunchy bread dressing
1/4 cup turkey gravy, warmed

Heat a panini maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil. Place the slices oil-side down on a clean work surface. Spread 1 Tbs. mayonnaise on one slice of bread and the cranberry relish on the other slice of bread. Place the turkey on top of the mayonnaise. Top with the stuffing, then top with the other slice of bread. Place on a preheated panini maker and cook until the bread is golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with warmed gravy for dipping.

Serves 1

Ritchie's latest cookbook is "Party Appetizers: Small Bites, Big Flavors" (Chronicle Books, Fall 2004).
For soup-to-nuts guidance in making your Thanksgiving dinner perfect, with the help of The Early Show and Williams-Sonoma, click here.
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