I’m thinking that the anticipation of the delights of the Thanksgiving table is as important (more important, perhaps?) as the meal itself. After all, eating the turkey, stuffing, casseroles and pies takes minutes, even with heaping plates of seconds — less than the halftime break of the Detroit Lions or Dallas Cowboys football game.
But the anticipation? It goes on for weeks. I was struck by this idea as a colleague rhapsodized more than a month ago about one of her favorite Thanksgiving traditions: the post-feast turkey sandwich. Of course, cold turkey on bread, slicked with mayo and embellished with other treasures, like cranberry sauce or stuffing, is as iconic as the glistening mahogany roasted bird itself.
But my colleague likes her sandwich hot, open face, with plenty of gravy poured over the layers of turkey, cranberry and leftover dinner rolls that gird the whole. Conjuring an old-style diner classic, her knife-and-fork version intrigued.
So, I tried it, and now I’m convinced of her rightness. The version here toys a bit with her version, embellishing the gravy with sauteed mushrooms and shallots. A bit of parsley adds color, but you can skip such fanciness … maybe a scoop of green bean casserole instead? If there is no gravy left, you can stir some together in no time, following the method here. Then it’s a simple matter of heating up and assembling.
I can hardly wait until Friday.
Prep: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 sandwich
1 slice crusty country bread or 1 dinner roll, halved
Some leftover turkey, warmed
Cranberry sauce or relish
Turkey gravy, warmed (or make our turkey mushroom gravy)
Fresh parsley sprigs
Place bread or split roll on a plate; top with turkey as you like, interspersing pieces or slices with cranberry sauce or relish. Pour a generous amount of gravy over all.