Well, it’s over, and you did it! You nailed Thanksgiving (or at least survived it), and you have the fridge full of leftovers to prove it. Now here’s a good problem to have: What are you going to make with it all?
I’ve always thought that, beyond the requisite sandwiches (squirt some chili sauce into the mayo on mine, please), soup is the highest form your leftover turkey can take. Even if you don’t have the energy to simmer the picked over carcass into broth, you can still make all manner of beautiful soups. I recently wrote about three cooks’ approaches to leftovers soup for The Times, and the recipes are truly wonderful — and different from my usual turkey-vegetable-white bean potful.
There’s a thick and hearty turkey barley soup from Cristiana N. de Carvalho, scented with herbs; a knock-you-over (in a good way) spicy gumbo with shrimp, tomatoes and collard greens from Gail Jennings; and a soothing, silky Instant Pot congee (above) that Liyan Chen makes with leftover duck from her Thanksgiving table, but that you can make with turkey. I loved the soups, but most important, I loved learning about these different Thanksgiving traditions.
If soup’s not your thing, we have plenty of other reincarnations for your leftovers. One thing I’m excited to try for the first time is Samin Nosrat’s turkey tikka masala, fragrant with spices and spiked with yogurt and heavy cream. Let the feasting continue all weekend long! For something a little lighter, I like the looks of Samin’s pho, with its clear broth and loads of herbs, green chiles and bean sprouts. Also, Sarah DiGregorio’s biscuit-topped turkey pot pie, which can accommodate any stray leftover vegetables looking for a home, is supremely cozy.
You know what else will make everyone cozy this weekend? Turning the oven on to bake some easy, no-yeast cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Or, if you still have guests on hand and need an elegant but unfussy dessert, you could choose between this lemony carrot loaf cake or a gingery maple-pecan galette that’s even easier than pie.
You need a subscription for the recipes, because that’s what keeps our busy kitchen humming. As a subscriber to New York Times Cooking, you’re now able to gift up to 10 recipes per month, a boon for pre-holiday planning for your family and friends. You can also find us on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, where Sue Li’s caramelized onion galette, so perfect for the holiday season, gets its own jaunty demo. (You can find the recipe here).
Today, of course, is Black Friday, with its glittery frenzies and dubious deals. If you’re diving in, you can cut out the guesswork by following Wirecutter’s Black Friday coverage. They tested the duds and lemons so that you, and whomever you’re buying presents for, don’t have to.
Like your leftovers, it’s a dayslong feast — after Friday we get Small Business Saturday (shop local, shop small!); but for dessert, we get #GivingTuesday. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of this generosity extravaganza, started in 2012 by Henry Timms at the 92nd Street Y as “a day good for the soul.” In its first decade, #GivingTuesday has helped move billions of dollars to charitable organizations worldwide, but it’s not just about money. The organizer’s website lists practical ways to use your time, effort and everyday actions to build community and help relieve suffering, near and far. The ubiquitous hashtag provides many more.
There are a million ways to express your overflowing generosity — but, again, that’s a good problem to have.