While you're probably still full from last night's turkey feast, chances are you're already thinking about what make-shift lunch you can throw together from the remnants of white meat, cranberries, and sweet potatoes in your fridge. Turkey sandwiches are so obvious and predictable -- unless you're making Monica's "moistmaker" from Friends. Because you have no idea how to do that, how about whipping up a Monte Cristo instead?
In anticipation of Cindy Hutson's first Thanksgiving leftovers cooking class, the Ortanique on the Mile chef and owner gave us the lowdown on how to turn scraps into a gourmet meal and why a turkey Monte Cristo is the ultimate way to put your residual bird to good use.
"When people think about leftovers from any holiday, be it Thanksgiving, Christmas, or whatever else, it's usually always the same thing," Hutson says. "Soup and some kind of mashed potatoes. It's pretty boring."
A soup lover, Hutson typically makes a stock using the bones and carcass of the turkey. "One carcass gives you about six quarts of stock, so my kids and I will all enjoy one cup." But she gets inventive with other ingredients too, such as using leftover mashed potatoes to make a cold vichyssoise or going the hot route and turning them into bisque. "What I like to do is hollow out a baking potato, bake it before so you can eat it, and fill it with potato leek bisque."
Hutson spent her Thanksgiving cooking up a storm at her Harbour Island outpost in the Bahamas. "There's lots of tourists, mostly American, so I made a traditional turkey." Still, she worked her Caribbean flair into the meal with some Caribbean pumpkin bisque. "Another soup people can make using their leftover pumpkins. I'm a big soup person, if you can't tell." Hutson even admits to having chefs auditioning for a spot in her kitchen by making her a soup. "If they can't make a flavorful, interesting soup, I figure they don't have good taste buds."
In addition to soup, the chef suggests turning cranberry sauce into cranberry granita or, even better, a cranberry mojito. "It's very easy. Just add a little rum, simple syrup, and muddle it down with some mint." Sounds like the ultimate post-Thanksgiving Miami cocktail to go with your post-Thanksgiving turkey
On the subject of day-after-Thanksgiving turkey, Hutson encourages getting creative. "For the cooking class I'm doing a take on turkey à la king but turning it into a pasta sauce instead and making papardelle." For home, however, Hutson suggests forgoing the expected turkey club sandwich for a turkey Monte Cristo. "It's just so delicious."
Basically, you slice your leftover turkey and layer it with cheese (Hutson recommends Gouda) between slices of bread. "I like to use really thick country white bread or artisanal bread; otherwise, it's not worth the calories." She'll also whip up some aioli and smear that on the bread. Then whisk eggs and milk together to dip your sandwich into. (Yes, things just got real.) "Once you've dipped it really nice and coated both sides, throw it on a skillet till it browns. Your leftover cranberry would also go amazing on top of that." That's in addition to drinking it, of course.
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You can learn more from Hutson on how to take your scraps to the next level by attending her first Thanksgiving leftovers cooking class tomorrow from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The intimate affair is limited to 50 people and costs $108 per person (including tax and gratuity). Guests will make (and eat) three of Hutson's specialties, which include sweet potato bisque with marshmallow crema and candied pecans, turkey à la king papardelle, and snickerdoodle cookies with apple-pie ice cream. Each course will be paired with champagne or wine, and all participants will walk away with a surprise gift and recipe booklet to make leftovers at home year-round.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha