What to Cook with Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

At some point we all tire of eating the same turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pie (if it lasts more than a day). But don't throw out those leftovers! Transform them into delicious, cozy meals, desserts, and even seasoning blends, with these easy recipes from Sur La Table National Chef Joel Gamaron.


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Leftover Mashed Potato Soup

Leftover Mashed Potato Soup

Photo courtesy of Joel Gamaron

Photo courtesy of Joel Gamaron

Yield: About 1 quart, 4 (1-cup) servings

Preparation Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot or parsnip, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, divided (for garnish, optional)

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the celery, onion and carrot (or parsnip). Season with ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until vegetables are soft.

Whisk in the leftover mashed potatoes, broth (or water) and black pepper. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with chives, if using.


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Leftover Pie and Ice Cream Sundaes with Salted Caramel Sauce

Leftover Pie and Ice Cream Sundaes with Salted Caramel Sauce

Photo courtesy of Joel Gamaron

Photo courtesy of Joel Gamaron

Yield: 4 sundaes

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 slices leftover pie, broken into bite size pieces, about 1” each
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, divided

For the Salted Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions:

In a small saucepan, combine cream and butter. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

In a medium saucepan, add the sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Cook over high heat, swirling the pan occasionally (no stirring), until the color of dark amber, about 8 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Slowly pour in the warm cream and butter while whisking (mixture will bubble). Continue to whisk until caramel is smooth and bubbles have subsided. Whisk in ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt.

To assemble sundaes, layer the leftover pie, ice cream and caramel between 4 glasses or bowls. Sprinkle the top of each sundae with 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt. Serve immediately.


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Scrappy Broth

Scrappy Broth

Photo courtesy of Joel Gamaron

Photo courtesy of Joel Gamaron

Yield: About 3 quarts

Preparation Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • Bones from 1 cooked turkey
  • 5 quarts water
  • 4 cups of assorted vegetable scraps (onion ends and peels, carrot tops and peels, celery leaves and ends, parsley stems, fennel tops)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Directions

In a large stockpot, combine leftover turkey bones, water, leftover vegetable scraps, bay leaves, and coarse kosher salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. You are looking for a gentle bubble (simmer). Low or medium low will get you there, depending on your stove. Skim any foam or fat that rises to the surface and discard. 

Pour through a large mesh strainer; discard the solids. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 3 days or freeze up to 6 months.

Tip: Store in quart-size jars for easy defrosting when you are ready to make soup. Also handy to freeze in ice cube trays when you just need a little broth for a recipe.


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Leftover Herb Salt

leftover herb salt

Photo courtesy of Joel Gamaron

Photo courtesy of Joel Gamaron

Yield: About 1 cup

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of leftover chopped herbs with tender stems (a combination of sage, thyme, rosemary and/or parsley)

Directions

In a medium bowl, add 1 cup of sea salt and leftover herbs. Smash with the back of a spoon until combined. Alternately, use a mortar and pestle. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate. Lasts for up to one month. 

About our expert
Joel Gamoran is the National Chef of Sur La Table and the host of the award-winning cooking series Scraps, which focuses on preventing food waste by preparing meals with food scraps. Joel has been featured in the New York Times, Good Morning America and is a regular food expert on NBC's Today Show. Recently Joel released his first cookbook, Cooking Scrappy. He partnered with Morton Salt to develop these recipes.