The word leftover doesn’t inspire any great enthusiasm to me. It sounds like a castaway meal. The concept of leftovers has always been foreign to me and my family, as we usually begin the Thanksgiving meal at noon, invite as many guests as possible, and continue to eat throughout the day and night. Naturally, there are no leftovers. I imagine the rationale behind leftovers is that the food may possibly improve in flavor overnight like a duck ragu, choucoutre, or cassoulet. This theory doesn’t hold well for turkey, which tends to dry out over time.
If you subscribe to leftovers, then here’s a tip to ensure that the turkey stays as moist as it should. Set aside a portion for the next day right after you carve the turkey for serving. If you leave it on the bone for several hours during the repast, the meat will dry out more quickly. Then, place the meat in a plastic container and cover with gravy. If you don’t have enough gravy, mix some with fresh stock and drippings. The turkey slices will stay moist overnight, and reheating the next day will be short and sweet. Then you can make turkey sandwiches, turkey tacos, or even recreate a shorter version of the main event.
Use the carcass for a great turkey stock. Just simmer for a long time (at least 12 hours). Add your mirepoix and water and behold a cure for the winter blues.
For a quick fire marinade, I whisk three cups of chicken stock with a teaspoon of achiote, a tablespoon of olive oil, four ounces of tomato paste, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add a cup of white or red wine. That should do the trick. The rest is up to the bird.