Here's How to Build the Ultimate Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich, According to Ina Garten
With the fancy table settings, perfectly paired wines and the feast of a meal, Thanksgiving dinner is great. But honestly, there's one thing we all look forward to even more than the main event: the leftovers!
That's not true year-round if you ask Ina Garten, however, who admitted on the first episode of Al Roker's new podcast Cooking Up a Storm, "I hate leftovers. I just hate them, we don't even put them in the refrigerator. Then you're just heating them up and it's never as good as it is the first time."
What she does give full approval to—and love to do—is "take leftovers and make them into something totally separate," Garten says. "So if you make risotto, leftover risotto can become risotto cakes."
So on the topic of making leftovers new, Garten absolutely gives the green light to the American tradition of the leftover turkey sandwich.
After teaching Roker how to master her Parmesan Smashed Potatoes, which first appeared in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (buy it: $23, Amazon), Garten laughs as she recalls to Roker, "One year, we all decided that I was going to make Thanksgiving dinner the day before, and Thanksgiving dinner was going to actually be turkey sandwiches, which was really fun."
He then asks her about her hot take on the best Thanksgiving leftover sandwich construction, which inspires Garten to chime in, "Meaning 'this is the flavor profile of a perfect turkey sandwich?' Good question! I don't think I've ever studied that," Garten admits. "I just put everything on the table and everyone makes their own sandwiches."
By everything, we think she means all of the dishes on her ultimate Thanksgiving menu or her micro Thanksgiving menu:
- Tuscan Turkey Roulade
- Make-Ahead Roast Turkey
- Mashed Butternut Squash
- Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes
- Potato-Fennel Gratin
- Sautéed Shredded Brussels Sprouts
- Herb and Apple Bread Pudding
- Ina's Cornbread Stuffing
- Haricot Verts with Hazelnuts and Dill
- Ultimate Pumpkin Pie with Rum Whipped Cream
- Applesauce Cake with Bourbon Raisins
Since Garten hasn't given this much thought, she turns the tables on Roker and asks him to dish on his dream Thanksgiving leftover sandwich.
"I start with a good, crusty bread, mayo, the turkey, some stuffing, some cranberry sauce, a little more mayo, then cut it," Roker says.
Garten jumps in to say, "That's exactly what I would do! That sounds great. Every once and a while, I like a little Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes in there. That might be good, right?"
So for a recap and a "recipe" to keep in mind for Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving,
- 2 slices of your favorite crusty bread, such as sourdough.
- A schmear of mayo—Ina's partial to Hellman's—on each slice. (Buy it: $3.29 for 11.5 ounces, Target)
- A couple slices of turkey, like extra Make-Ahead Roast Turkey.
- Cranberry sauce, perhaps a couple spoonfuls of Garten's five-star Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauce if you're lucky enough to have leftovers?
- A scoop of Chipotle Smashed Sweet Potatoes, because sugar, spice and everything nice!
After you've had your sandwich, if you need even more ways to love your leftovers, try our Leftover Turkey Stew.