By Emma Castleberry
A wonderful holiday meal is over, and now the fridge is overflowing with leftovers. While excess from popular dishes like turkey and mashed potatoes can go a long way in feeding a family after the holiday festivities are over, it’s important to be creative, because no one likes eating the same turkey plate night after night.
Chef Steven Goff of West Asheville’s Jargon loves repurposing his holiday leftovers and understands the importance of stretching each meal as far as it will go. “Having been food insecure in the past, I always go into the holidays with a plan of action for all leftovers,” he says. “It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate the holidays with our family and friends, but I always keep in mind that there are many people out there who are in some way food insecure. For us to make these huge beautiful meals and not eat all of it is disrespectful to those folks.”
Goff has shared some of his favorite recipes that use common holiday leftovers, most of which can be accomplished with minimal planning. And if, even with these creative dishes, you won’t be able to use all your leftovers, don’t hesitate to share. “Most cities have an area where the homeless congregate,” says Goff. “In Asheville, that’s Pritchard Park. A lot of times I will just package up whatever leftovers we’re not eating and drive up there and give it to someone. I promise you will be making someone’s day.
Use your leftover cranberry sauce (canned or fresh) for a delicious salad dressing to lighten things up in the days after your big holiday meal. Purée the cranberry sauce in a blender with an equal amount of apple cider vinegar and then slowly add about double the amount of oil. A simple recipe would be one cup of cranberry sauce, one cup of vinegar and two cups of oil.
Turkey Stock or Soup
Rather than buying a box or can of turkey stock for your next recipe, make homemade stock with your holiday turkey carcass. Start by simmering the carcass in a large pot of water and then pick the meat off the bones and set it aside. “Make a dark roux of equal parts butter and flour, fold in the diced trinity of desire (peppers, onions, celery), then add in the reserved meat,” says Goff. “Simmer for a while longer and finish with a dash of sherry and fresh herbs. Also, if I haven’t used it for my gravy, I will purée the turkey gizzards and liver and add to the finished soup, simmering gently another hour. Also, leftover gravy folds perfectly into this soup. This can be served as is or over reheated mashed potatoes.”
Of these leftover recipes, this might be the most labor-intensive, but Goff says it’s worth it. “I love making turkey chimichangas,” he says. “I mix all the leftover turkey meat with cream cheese and some rice or stuffing, then roll the mixture up into six flour tortillas. Fry these in a pan in oil and use your leftover gravy as an awesome dipping sauce.”
Deviled Egg Aioli
Have leftover deviled eggs? Simply purée them in a blender with a few tablespoons of mustard, a dash each of paprika and vinegar, and then stream in oil to the food processor until it takes on the texture of aioli. This can be used as a topping for almost any dish, from steak to chicken to a grain bowl.
“For leftover mashed potatoes and/or green bean casserole, I love to make them into croquettes,” says Goff. “Straight potato croquettes are pretty awesome by themselves dipped in gravy, but folding in some green bean casserole or turkey meat into the mash makes it next level.” After you’ve created the mixture, coat the croquettes in flour and an egg wash, coat with breadcrumbs and fry them. “If you think about it, cream of mushroom is a relative of béchamel and béchamel is the traditional base for Spanish croquettes, so you can add that to your mixture as well.”
To make a reservation, visit JargonRestaurant.com.