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Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipe: A Play on Shepherd's Pie

Published on: December 30, 2013

thanksgiving_pieIt's the day before Thanksgiving and I cannot wait (!) for tomorrow. Friends and family are making their way here by car and plane, the turkey's soaking in its brine, the sausage is made for the stuffing, and I'm writing to the wonderful hum of vegetables being chopped in the kitchen nearby. Nothing makes me happier than gathering up all of our loved ones for a big meal, and Thanksgiving is by far the best day for doing just that.

But, let's skip ahead to the day after. That dreaded day where you're still coming out of your turkey and gravy coma, and your head feels slightly crunchy after all of those unforgettable toasts. (If you haven't been up shopping since 5 a.m., that is.)

You've got about a week's worth of leftovers staring you down from their Ziploc bag perch in the refrigerator, and -- if you're like our family, there's a giant less-than-lovely turkey carcass that's taking up prime real estate as it waits to be made into future stock. When it comes to leftovers, I'll be the first to say it: you can only eat so many turkey sandwiches. Obligation to use up those yummy leftovers leads to guilt over waste, and I begin to feel like the kid that's bummed after finding out what's for dinner, rather than the adult that's fully capable of making whatever she damn well pleases.

So, over the years I've tried to get creative with our leftovers -- mainly for my own sake and to relieve my boredom over a dozen dry turkey sandwiches, but, nobody else seems to be complaining either. Typically we've got enough leftovers that playing around is easy -- and this spin on Shepherd's Pie happens to be one of my all-time favorite Thanksgiving dinner-reconstructed meals that we've ever made.

Here's to wishing your family a fabulous Thanksgiving -- with plenty of delicious leftovers!

Reconstructed Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 4

Note: keep in mind that we made this recipe entirely up by throwing leftovers in; feel free to play around with varied ingredients, or measurements to fit your own family's needs.


1 tab butter

2-ish Tbsp. all-purpose flour*

1/2-1 yellow onion, minced

2-3 carrots, chopped (leftovers)

2-3 celery, chopped (leftovers)

1 lb. turkey (give or take), shredded or chopped (leftovers)

3-4 cups of chicken broth

4-5 cups mashed potatoes (leftovers)

Bit of cream

Seasoning to taste

*Use as much flour as needed for your simple roux; we used about 2 Tbsp.


Preheat your oven to 400° F. Heat a pan over medium-high and add your tab of butter once the pan has been brought up to temperature. Add your onions, carrots and celery, and saute until soft. (If you're using leftovers, this step will be quick.) Add in your cooked turkey; coat with the butter and begin adding flour to the ingredients to coat for a simple roux.

Once your ingredients are fully coated and thickening, add in the chicken broth and bring the pot to a simmer for 30 minutes. Once the stew has finished simmering, bring the temperature down and add your cream after the stew has cooled; stir while adding.

Place the ingredients into individual ramekins and top with mashed potatoes. Bake in the over for 20-25 minutes. Finish off your pies with a quick trip under the broiler for a crispy top.

Once the dishes have cooled, serve and enjoy!

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