By Matt Reese
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I have so much to be thankful for this year, my fantastic family, my wonderful career and Ohio agriculture. Without a robust agriculture in our state and country, we would have far fewer blessings to count on the Thanksgiving table and all year long.
Of course, the turkey is always the star of the day, and there are always those great leftovers to enjoy. I have been fortunate to know Jim Chakeres for many years now and, in that time, have discovered that the Executive Vice President of the Ohio Poultry Association is a top-notch chef. With that in mind, I thought he would be the perfect guy to talk with about turkey recipes and the best ways to handle leftover turkey. Here is part of the Q&A we did with him in the Mid-November issue of Ohio’s Country Journal. And you can trust my taste buds that, if Jim says it is a good recipe, it is worth trying. Enjoy!
OCJ: How should leftovers be handled safely?
Jim: All leftovers should be stored in shallow containers and refrigerated or frozen within two hours of cooking. Enjoy the leftovers in the refrigerator (below 40 degrees F) within two days. Frozen turkey leftovers should be used within 3 months. If reheating, make sure the turkey reaches 165 degrees F. Always follow proper kitchen hygiene. Wash your hands often and keep your counter tops, containers, and refrigerator clean.
OCJ: What is your favorite way to enjoy leftover turkey?
Jim: Turkey deviled eggs and turkey tetrazzini are two of my favorites. But my absolute, all time leftover turkey favorite is the “Best Turkey Sandwich Ever!”
Here is the recipe:
2 tbs. cranberry sauce
2 tbs. apple butter
Eight slices of good quality, whole-grain bread
1 tbs. mayonnaise – good quality
1 cup stuffing – turkey or chicken
½ c. turkey gravy
1 lb. turkey – thickly sliced
12 slices bacon
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs butter, softened
Mix apple butter and cranberry sauce together, set aside. Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Top one slice of bread with stuffing, a thin layer of gravy, ¼ of the turkey and three slices of bacon. Add another thin layer of gravy. Spread one fourth of apple butter/cranberry mixture on the other slice of bread. Add salt and pepper to taste. Assemble the sandwich. Repeat for the remaining three sandwiches.
Butter each side of the of the sandwiches on the outside, then toast on a preheated sandwich grill or heavy skillet, pressing firmly on each side until golden brown. Garnish with lettuce and tomato. Serves 4 – 8.