If you were lucky enough to host a Thanksgiving dinner, chances are there is a fridge full of leftovers. Right about now those leftovers are hitting their peak, which means it is time to act. Freeing up fridge space could come from a multitude of methods like soups, salads and casseroles. But nothing utilizes your treasured leftovers while capturing the essence of the past Thursday feast like a fully stacked Thanksgiving sandwich.

The stuffed Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. Make your own, if you dare. (Michael Ryan michael@smdp.com)

The stuffed Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. Make your own, if you dare. (Photos by Michael ‘Snacks’ Ryan michael@smdp.com)

Starting with the bread, size does matter. How big is your blueprint? A couple slices of rye will do if you just want a quick snack. But if you plan to relive the Thanksgiving gluttony, something more substantial, like a French roll hallowed out, is required.

For a sandwich spread, cranberries are key. Not only do cranberries add color, the sweet, tangy and tart flavors cut through a sandwich dominated by savories. The gelatinous log dropped right out of the can is perfectly spreadable, but fancy cranberry compotes work just as well. Cranberries are also a quick fix to some dry turkey.

Turkey is traditionally the focal point of the Thanksgiving table. The same goes for the sandwich. White, dark or a mix of the two meats is a matter of preference, just be mindful to make room for the other ingredients.

A few unspoken rules of sandwich making are broken during the construction of the Thanksgiving variety. In general, adding mashed potatoes and stuffing to a sandwich is a starch on starch crime. But if it’s a staple on your Thanksgiving table, it should be in your sandwich as well. A fully loaded Thanksgiving sandwich requires mashed potatoes as a binder so other ingredients don’t fall overboard. For many, including myself, stuffing is the best part of the meal, making it the best part of the sandwich too.

It doesn’t stop there. Perhaps you had macaroni and cheese on the table or some yams? Don’t be afraid to carbo-load, you’ll need the energy to properly complain about the holidays from in front of your TV.

By now the sandwich should be filling out nicely, but you mercilessly need to add some greens. Depending what you have available, the “lettuce” for the sandwich may come in the form of Brussels sprouts, green beans or spinach. Of course add what you like. The main thing is just have fun with it.

Now it’s more than just a sandwich, it’s a holiday experience.

Leftovers from a Thanksgiving feast get ready to be incorporated into a stuffed sandwich.

Leftovers from a Thanksgiving feast get ready to be incorporated into a stuffed sandwich.

A Thanksgiving sandwich should be an extension of your personality, so be sure to make any individual embellishments. My mother always starts Thanksgiving off with a first course of ravioli. So in honor of her I find room for a couple of raviolis in my sandwich. Chanukah and St. Andrew’s day may be underway, but I’m not advising that you start throwing latkes and haggis on your sandwich. Wait …  I guess at this point that’s exactly what I’m telling you to do.

Nevertheless, the Thanksgiving sandwich is a cornucopia of holiday flavors under a bun. I now look forward to Thanksgiving dinner just because I know how great the sandwiches are afterward (plus being thankful for good health, family and friends). Even if I’m going to someone else’s Thanksgiving dinner, I find time to make my own leftovers at home. Celebrating the season is best with a festive holiday sandwich. Just make sure to garnish it with a deviled egg for the proverbial cherry on top.

 

 

Michael can be seen riding around town on his bike burning calories so he can eat more food. He can be reached at michael@smdp.com. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/greaseweek