What’s better than Thanksgiving dinner? Leftovers! I’ve turned stuffing into meatballs, mashed potatoes into potato cakes, and cranberry sauce into dessert. But sometimes all you need is a good sandwich. A turkey sandwich is probably the easiest post-Thanksgiving meal to quickly whip up. And after putting in all of the effort to cook the bird the day before, you want to extend its eating life as far as possible. Piling it high on a sandwich is just the way to do it!
This is my version of a BLT – Thanksgiving edition. I start by making a cranberry-bacon jam for the “B”. I tend to buy way too many packages of cranberries during my multiple Thanksgiving grocery trips, so by the time Friday comes around, there’s bound to be some extra cranberries laying around. I use them in this jam by first rendering some bacon until it’s brown and crisp. The cranberries are added to the same pan with all of the bacon flavor left around the sides. I cook them down with brown sugar and a little lemon juice. The bacon is added back in at the end, along with fresh savory, one of my favorite herbs to use around the holidays.
Now on to the “L”. I toss some watercress with a simple seasoning of lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I eyeball these measurements and taste until it’s just right. Be careful not to add too much lemon or oil; you don’t want to have soggy watercress. A squirt of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil is all you need. For the “T”, I keep it really simple and slice some Campari tomatoes. I season them with salt and pepper so that the fresh tomato flavor comes through.
It wouldn’t be a leftover turkey sandwich without the turkey. If using leftovers, the turkey is obviously already prepared. I like to just heat it up a little bit before layering it onto the sandwich. However, if you’re starting from scratch, check out my Roasted Turkey Breast with Purple Potatoes & Pomegranate Gastrique for instructions on how to roast a turkey breast. And finally, there must be really tasty bread to hold all of these ingredients together. I cut fresh ciabatta rolls in half and crisp them up in some hot oil. The golden brown bread is spread with the cranberry-bacon jam on one side and Dijon mustard on the other side. Pile the rest of the components high and you’ve got yourself the perfect post-Thanksgiving fix.
Cranberry Bacon Jam
- 12 oz bacon, diced
- 8 oz fresh cranberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh savory
- ¼ cup oil
- 4 ciabatta rolls
- dijon mustard, to spread
- leftover roasted turkey
- 4 campari tomatoes, sliced
- 2 oz watercress, large stems picked off
- 1 lemon
- drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper
- In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until brown and crisp. Drain the bacon and reserve, discarding the bacon drippings (or saving for another use). In the same saucepan, add the cranberries, lemon juice, and brown sugar. Cook over medium-high heat until the cranberries begin to burst, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until thickened. Stir in the savory and reserved bacon at the end.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Slice the ciabatta rolls in half and place each half in the hot oil, cut-side down. Cook for a few minutes until the bread is golden and crisp (work in batches if needed). To assemble, spread a generous amount of cranberry-bacon jam on the bottom half of the roll and Dijon mustard on the top half. Place a few slices of turkey on the jam (I like to heat it up first). Next, layer the sliced tomatoes on top of the turkey, seasoning with salt and pepper. In a small mixing bowl, add the watercress and season to taste with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Top the tomatoes with the seasoned watercress and close the sandwich. Cut in half and enjoy!
- Serving Size: 4