Thanksgiving is hands-down my favourite holiday. It comes right at my favourite time of year, when the leaves are turning and falling and the air is starting to get a little crisp. When you walk outside, you can smell woodsmoke flavouring the air and it makes you excited to get home to set up in front of a fire of your own, maybe with a cup of cocoa (or glass of wine, whatever your pleasure).
Also, there’s no enforced gift-giving. It’s just about family and friends getting together and sharing an amazing meal. And is there anything more amazing than turkey? It is the second most delicious meat, after bacon.
And the leftovers are just as awesome as the main event – sometimes even better. We were discussing the best way to make a turkey sandwich. (My preferred version: on whole wheat bread, with yellow mustard, cheddar cheese and salt and vinegar chips squished right in there).
I recently found this new recipe as a creative way to use Thanksgiving leftovers: Turkey Empanadas. It involves mixing up all the leftovers into pastry and baking. The result is similar to a turkey-pot pie, only more awesome, because in my recipe, I’m using my family’s favourite mashed potato recipe.*
Now, I did this in a huge rush because we needed to get on the road to get home, so I was cutting corners all over the place. They still turned out okay, but maybe with a little more TLC they could have been improved? I’ll have to try again. I found the original recipe on Epicurious – this is my abbreviated version.
2 cups diced cooked turkey (white and dark meat)
1/2 cup chilled gravy
1 1/2 17.3-ounce packages frozen puff pastry (3 sheets), thawed
1 cup mashed potatoes, divided
1 cup stuffing, divided
1 egg white, beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon cold water (for glaze)
Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons mashed potatoes onto half of each pastry square; press lightly to flatten, leaving 1/2-inch border. Top with 2 to 3 tablespoons stuffing, then about 1/3 cup turkey mixture.
Brush glaze around filling on 1 pastry half. Fold plain pastry half over filling, stretching dough to cover. Seal edges with fork tines. Repeat to form other empanadas. Transfer empanadas to greased rimmed baking sheets.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush empanadas with egg-white glaze and cut small slits in top to allow steam to escape. Bake empanadas 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake empanadas until puffed and golden, 25 to 35 minutes longer. Serve empanadas, passing cranberry sauce alongside.
*Okay, I am absolutely obsessed with our family’s mashed potato recipe. It is like eating clouds of yummy. I’m always shocked when somebody professed that they prefer their potatoes plain. This recipe improves on potatoes with cream cheese and sour cream. Oh, yum. They are called Elsie’s Potatoes, and can be found in the Best of Bridges – The Best of the Best, Vol. 1.
Funny story. I have been eating these potatoes for 30+ years. When my mother recently remarried, we discovered that THE Elsie of Elsie’s Potatoes was in fact my stepfather’s sister-in-law. I was very excited to meet her and to tell her she makes good potato. I think she thinks I’m a little bizarre. Anyway, in case you’re interested, here are the best potatoes in the world:
5 lbs. potatoes or 9 large 2.5kg
8 oz. low-fat cream cheese 250g
1 cup fat-free sour cream 250ml
2 tsp. onion salt 10ml
1 tsp. salt 5ml
pinch of pepper
2 Tbsp. butter 30ml (I actually don’t add in the butter)
Cook and mash potatoes. Add all ingredients, except butter, and combine. Put into large greased casserole. Dot with butter. Bake, covered, at 350F (180C) for 30 minutes.If making ahead, cover and refrigerate or freeze. Thaw before baking. Serves 10-12.
Word of the day:
Equanimity: mental or emotional stability or composure, especially under tension or strain; calmness; equilibrium