Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are often a mystery, with the best parts already consumed and the remaining scraps looking unappealing. While making stock is an option, it's a tedious process with messy results. Repurposing leftover turkey into dishes like congee, pasta, or glass noodles is delicious but doesn't quite capture the essence of Thanksgiving.
A classic turkey sandwich is the ultimate solution, but not just any sandwich. This leftover turkey melt is inspired by an old-fashioned diner-style tuna melt, elevating it beyond a mere concoction of leftover ingredients. It's warm, melty, toasted, and gooey, making it a delightful hot mess.
For the bread, sliced white sourdough is ideal, as it holds up well under the filling's weight. Regular sandwich bread becomes soggy, while seedy or crusty bread disrupts the smooth texture and can cut the roof of your mouth.
Shredding the turkey by hand rather than dicing it ensures better absorption of the mayonnaise and prevents the filling from slipping out of the sandwich. Rotisserie chicken can also be used with great success.
Vegetables, particularly pickled peppers, add a refreshing contrast to the richness of the sandwich. Finely chopped celery provides a cool crunch, while scallions and herbs add freshness. Lemon zest brightens the flavors, and pickled peppers, whether jalapeños or other varieties, provide a tangy kick that elevates the sandwich to new heights.
American cheese, often disregarded, deserves respect for its ability to melt and adhere perfectly, creating a gooey, satisfying experience. Kraft Deli Deluxe is a great option, or you can get sliced cheese from the deli for extra freshness. Cheddar can work, but American cheese provides an unmatched level of adhesion and ooze.
Griddled on a hot pan, turkey melts become fun and filling treats, appealing to a wide range of palates. They transform leftover turkey into a delicious, intentional-tasting sandwich, almost as if you planned for a surplus of turkey just to make these melts.
So, add a can of pickled peppers and a pack of American cheese to your shopping list this week. You won't regret it. These leftover-turkey melts are a strategic solution that makes Thanksgiving turkey disappear surprisingly fast.