Everyone knows that the best part of Thanksgiving is getting to eat the leftovers the next day. And while all the chefs we spoke to swear by the classic sandwich of cranberry sauce, turkey, and mayo on Wonderbread, they also offered up some surprisingly creative ideas for what to do with all that extra meat. From curry to meatballs, tacos to tetrazzini, they’ve got you covered. All you have to do is eat.
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Go Fork Yourself: Thanksgiving 2012
"Turkey Tetrazzini. I mean, I love my pot pies and a la kings and soups, but on day three, I find myself more and more looking forward to this one. I usually use up my last scraps of meat, and the salty kiss of some killer parmesan with the pasta, crusty on the outside, yielding on the inside. It just makes me smile when I think about it. I have a turkey sandwich late on Thanksgiving itself, pot pie on day after, turkey a la king on day two... Tetrazzini on Sunday! Mmmmmm."
Salinas in New York, NY
"I love using the stuffing to mix it with ground beef and make Thanksgiving meatballs. The leftover gravy can be a great substitute for tomato sauce. To make more tasty meatballs, you want to add finely chopped red onions, parsley, and truffle aioli. If you can’t find truffle in your supermarket, just prepare a simple garlic mayo."
Talula’s Garden and Talula’s Table in Philadelphia, PA
"I swap them out with friends who I trust for some of theirs -- that can be fun. We make composed leftover plates and trade them off. Oh, and Thanksgiving is really good in a tortilla too, like a taco."
TAG and TAG Raw Bar
in Denver, CO
"I absolutely LOVE turkey leftovers, from turkey fried rice, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey hot pockets, turkey pizza!"
Restaurants: Uchiko and East Side King in Austin, Texas
Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, GA
"My favorite leftover is the classic turkey sandwich: white bread, lots of mayo, salt, pepper, and turkey. I wait all year for that sandwich."
Bottega in Yountville, CA
"Turkey soup is great or paninis with all the fixings. I also make a brulee with leftover pumpkin pie."
Delicatessen and macbar in New York, NY
“The leftover turkey can be used to make a turkey mac and cheese. It just keeps the comfort food going and is a meal in itself. The great part is that is allows to disguise leftovers because a lot of people get bored with easily recognizable dishes like a turkey sandwich. The turkey mac & cheese can end up becoming a Thanksgiving dish.”
Restaurant: Executive chef at
DBGB in New York City, NY
I really like to make soup with leftovers. It truly transforms the ingredient into something new but just as -- and maybe more! -- satisfying.
Perilla and Kin Shop in New York, NY
"Turkey sandwich: wonder bread, cranberry, and stuffing… all cold!"
Marble Lane at Dream Downtown in New York, NY
“It’s a toss up between a Turkey Cuban sandwich, and my Turkey gumbo. I’ve been making that for years.”
The Mildred in Philadelphia, PA
"Hands down, a turkey and stuffing sandwich on a semolina and rosemary roll with cranberry sauce and gravy for dipping."