Two Tempting After-Thanksgiving Turkey Sandwiches

Although our family savors every morsel of our annual Thanksgiving feast, they look just as forward to the days after, when we indulge in turkey sandwiches prepared with the leftover bird. Over the years we’ve tried quite a few combinations—classic hot turkey combos composed of mounds of turkey set atop toasted bread, all topped with pan gravy. Other times we’ve assembled Dagwood-style turkey clubs, and also sampled turkey and cranberry panini. Two more favorites—Turkey Reubens and Turkey Salad Sandwiches with Fennel and Walnuts on Whole Wheat—are featured here today.

I’ve posted the recipe for the Reubens on more than one occasion on this blog. The idea is simple—roast turkey replaces traditional pastrani in this version. You spread sourdough or rye slices with a dressing prepared with purchased mayo and chili sauce, then add  sliced Gruyère, sliced turkey, and purchased sauerkraut. To finish, you sauté the sandwiches in butter and oil until hot and golden brown, then serve them warm garnished with kosher dills and potato chips.

For the other, leftover turkey is diced, then combined with chopped fennel, walnuts, and golden raisins, all bound with mayonnaise. Fennel (instead of the typical celery) gives this salad its crunch, while golden raisins offer a sweet note. This salad is delicious spread on any good toasted artisan bread, but I particularly like using whole wheat slices.

I hope the following recipes encourage you try something different with all those great turkey leftovers!


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After-Thanksgiving Turkey Reubens and Turkey Salad and Fennel on Whole Wheat

After-Thanksgiving Turkey Reubens
1/4 cup good quality prepared mayonnaise, such as Hellman’s
3 tbsp chili sauce
8 slices sourdough or rye bread
5-6 ounces sliced Gruyere cheese
8 ounces roasted, sliced turkey
About 2 cups sauerkraut, drained well and squeezed dry (See note.)
2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more if needed
2 tbsp canola oil, plus more if needed
Potato chips for garnish
Kosher dill pickles for garnish

1. Whisk together mayonnaise and chili sauce in a small bowl until blended. Then spread one side of each bread slice with this mixture. Top four of the coated slices with half the cheese, then with the turkey, then with the sauerkraut, and finally with the remaining cheese. Top with remaining bread slices, coated sides down.

2. In a large heavy skillet (that will hold the four sandwiches comfortably in a single layer) set over medium heat, heat the butter and oil until butter is melted and mixture is hot. Add the sandwiches and cook, pressing down gently with a metal spatula, until the bread is golden brown and cheese has melted, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add more butter and oil if needed.

3. To serve, cut each sandwich on the diagonal with a serrated knife and place on an individual serving plate. Garnish with some chips and pickle slices.
Serves 4.

Note: You can find prepared sauerkraut in the refrigerator section of the supermarket. I particularly like Bubbies, a brand that my Whole Foods sells.

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2011

Turkey Salad with Fennel and Walnuts on Whole Wheat
1/2 cup good quality prepared mayonnaise, such as Hellman’s
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
3 tbsp chopped tarragon
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups diced roasted turkey
1/2 cup diced fennel
1/3 cup chopped green onion, including 2 inches of the green stems
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
8 whole wheat bread slices, cut from a crusty artisan loaf, toasted
Green or Red Leaf lettuce or other tender lettuce leaves

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and zest, tarragon, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 3/8 teaspoon black pepper. Add the turkey, fennel, green onions, raisins, and walnuts, and mix well. Season the salad with more salt, black pepper, and an extra squeeze or two of lemon juice if you like. (Turkey salad can be prepared 4 hours ahead; keep covered and refrigerated.)

2. Divide the turkey salad evenly on four of the toasted bread slices. Top each with a lettuce leaf or two. Cover with remaining toasted bread slices. Halve and serve. Makes 4 sandwiches

Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2015

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