A Simple (& Very Buttery) Way to Give Thanksgiving Leftovers a New Lease on Life

No leftovers left behind.

November 23, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin

Ahhh, the day after Thanksgiving. You're still in a tryptophan-induced haze, wandering around the house in your pajamas and bathrobe, wondering how you're you're ever going to cook (or eat) again. But as your family members start waking up, ambling into the kitchen, poking around the fridge, and grabbing forkfuls of turkey and green beans, it's clear that everyone's hungry again.

So, what to make? The usual sandwich? Some turkey breakfast burritos or pho, perhaps? No doubt, there are many creative routes you can take to make the most of your leftovers—individually. But there's somehow always the wayward bowl of roasted carrots, or creamed onions, or slightly dried-out bit of stuffing left to fend for itself (sad!).

Community member Cathy Barrow (you may know her as MrsWheelbarrow), faced with the task of making just a few too many sandwiches one year, figured out the ultimate "no leftovers left behind" dish to feed the whole family—and a cozy one, to boot. MrsWheelbarrow's After-Thanksgiving Turkey Slab Pie is from her new book, Pie Squared: Irresistibly Easy Sweet & Savory Slab Pies, just in time to up the ante on your day-after-Turkey Day.

Picture this: your favorite turkey potpie, turned into a savory crumble topped with crunchy bits of stuffing. It's packed with a substantial, but not overflowing amount of filling. Along with the turkey, it has bites of roasted vegetables and fresh herbs; a swirl of white wine and leftover gravy. And it's dotted with bits of stuffing that get extra toasty and crispy in the oven.

Sound good? It's easy, too. Just pulse up a quick butter-and-shortening crust (maybe you even have some unsweetened pastry left over); while it's chilling, sauté up your leftover turkey with some veg (like carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans, Brussels sprouts—you name it) and fresh herbs; and roll out the dough and pack it all into a sheet pan when you're ready to bake. This vessel is where the slab pie gets its distinctive, easily cuttable shape, and its crisp, flaky crust underneath (this is a soggy bottom-free zone).

As MrsWheelbarrow says, the After-Thanksgiving Turkey Slab Pie "serves the same purpose as the ubiquitous after-Thanksgiving Day sandwich, while also being a bring-it-to-the-table lunch for those houseguests still in a food daze, unable to construct their own sandwich!"

And because this After-Thanksgiving pie doesn't include the oft-abandoned cranberry sauce, MrsWheelbarrow includes in Pie Squared a way to take the condiment and put it at center stage. Her Leftover Cranberry Sauce Pie, with fresh or frozen raspberries and almonds, has a buttery, crumbly shortbread crust and is reminiscent of a fruity, crunchy-topped fregolotta, a classic Italian jam tart. It bakes up in less than an hour and, I suspect, is pretty darn good for breakfast over the weekend.

How do you like to make the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers? Let us know in the comments!

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Brinda is the Director of Content at Food52, where she oversees all site content across Food52 and Home52. She likes chewy Neapolitan pizza, stinky cheese of all sorts, and tahini-flavored anything. Brinda lives in Brooklyn with 18 plants and at least one foster pup (sometimes more). Find her at @brindayesterday on Twitter and Instagram.