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Thomas Keller On What To Do With Your Thanksgiving Leftovers
Photo: Thomas Keller
Thomas Keller, the chef behind arguably the two best restaurants in America—French Laundry in Yountville, California and Per Se in New York City—has a serious love for Thanksgiving leftovers. See, superstar chefs are just like us!
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Instead of hovering near the refrigerator the day after Thanksgiving, grazing on leftover turkey and cranberry sauce, Keller has a better idea for what to do with all of those ingredients.
“I’ve always loved a good one-pot meal, and, when you look at the pileup of leftovers created by your Thanksgiving feast, you might feel the same,” Keller said. Keller’s advice on what to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers, and we mean pretty much all of them? That would be a turkey casserole.
“A casserole shows how you can experiment with using atypical ingredients, candied yams, for example, to create new and interesting results.”
Hey, if there’s any chef to take advice from, it’s Keller.
Thomas Keller’s Turkey Casserole
Total time: 1½ hours
Servings: 4 to 6
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 pound applewood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
1 large onion, diced ¾ inch
2 packed cups leftover turkey meat, diced ¾ inch
1 pound (about 2 medium) baked garnet yams, diced ¾ inch (candied leftover yams can be substituted)
2 cups cooked Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
6 ounces (about 1½ cups) grated Gruyère cheese
20 saltine crackers
1/2 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter the sides of a 9-by-9-by-2½-inch baking dish and set aside.
2. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and bacon strips and cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is almost crisp. Add the diced onion, and continue cooking until the onion is golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Add the turkey, yams, Brussels sprouts and sage, and gently fold together to distribute the ingredients evenly. Season with one-fourth teaspoon each salt and pepper, or to taste, then transfer to the buttered baking dish and gently press to create a level surface.
4. To make the Gruyère cheese crust, combine the grated cheese, saltine crackers, pecans, butter and flour in a food processor. Briefly pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped (about one-fourth-inch pieces) and mixed together. Distribute this mixture evenly over the top of the casserole.
5. Place the casserole in the center of the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour.
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