I don't know about you, but our family may enjoy the meal the day after Thanksgiving even more than the big day's feast. In year's past my mother-in-law has been responsible for some critical parts of the menu: the cranberries, the stuffing and the sweet potatoes, which meant that we went back to her home after dinner with those yummy leftovers. And we've always roasted a turkey of our own to have on hand for a day-after dinner with turkey sandwiches. My husband's family is strong in tradition, and for good reason when it comes to the food they fix--it's delicious!
Things were different this year. My sister-in-law made the cranberries and the sweet potatoes, which were as good as ever, but not easily packed home on a plane, and someone else made the stuffing, which meant it wasn't exactly the same, and not as available for leftovers. So when our little family of five (not so little I guess) returned home after our Thanksgiving travels we had in our bags a loaf of the traditional rye bread purchased from a Jewish bakery and a plan to buy a turkey breast to roast for sandwiches. I ran away with the idea and decided to fix the important parts of the meal. So I bought sweet potatoes and all the ingredients for my mother-in-law's stuffing and spent Monday afternoon cooking. Happily, I had made some cranberries before we left so they were there waiting for us, cool and crimson, and sweetly tart (I love these cranberries!).
I know food tastes better to us because of the tradition imbuing it, but these sandwiches are pretty good in their own right! So I thought I'd share how my husband's family makes a leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.
- Jewish Rye bread sliced thin and lightly toasted
- Russian Dressing (recipe follows)
- Roasted turkey breast sliced thin
- Crisp bacon
- Romaine lettuce
- Avocado (optional)
- Fresh tomato slices (optional)
For the Russian Dressing combine equal parts ketchup and mayonnaise and add some fresh lemon juice and a bit of ground pepper. I used 1/3 cup ketchup and 1/3 cup mayo and the juice from 1/4 of a large lemon. Mix well.
To make the sandwich, spread the Russian Dressing generously on one side of each of your bread slices. Pile some turkey on one side (it's best if it's a messy pile rather than laid out flat) and put your lettuce and bacon on the other half.
Sometimes I add avocado, and less often tomato, but this sandwich is good in all those combinations. You could also skip those and the bacon and spread on some cranberry sauce.
The bottom line is that this is one of the best sandwiches I've tasted! It's especially nice nestled among some fresh cranberries, stuffing and candied sweet potatoes. You've got starchy, sweet, tart, salty and tangy all on one plate. See what I mean? It may be the best part of Thanksgiving. Except for part about being surrounded by family. I missed them as I sat down to eat our traditional Thanksgiving leftovers.
If you still have some leftover turkey in the fridge, go get some rye bread and try this sandwich. You just may end up with another happy tradition.