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Thanksgiving Leftovers Get a Shabbat Makeover

Image by Katherine Martinelli

With all the cooking that leads up to Thanksgiving — there turkey to prepare, cranberry sauce, all those pies and don’t forget the gravy — no one, not even the most dedicated cooks, wants to exert that energy all over again for Shabbat the following day. But plain leftovers, in the form of a turkey sandwich doesn’t quite seem fitting for Shabbat dinner either. Fortunately, Thanksgiving leftovers can be turned into a flavorful and special Shabbat meal.

Start preparing your Shabbat meal at the same time as your Thanksgiving. While preparing your Thanksgiving feast, for example, don’t throw away all your vegetable ends and peels. Instead, save those herb stems, garlic and onion skins, celery leaves and carrot tops in a sealable plastic bag in the refrigerator or freezer. When it comes time to clean up after dinner, put your turkey carcass along with those vegetable scraps in a big pot and make a soothing and flavorful stock that can become the base for a delicious turkey matzo ball soup (get the recipe below). Even if you don’t use it right away, homemade stock can be cooled and frozen for later use. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays so I can easily use as much as I want.

Image by Katherine Martinelli

Although my family was always a proponent of fresh and homemade foods, Thanksgiving was not the same without canned cranberry sauce. We consistently stocked up on a bit too much and ended up with extra cans that would languish in the pantry until the following Thanksgiving. To prevent that sad fate, put that extra cranberry sauce — whether canned or homemade — to good use with a pretty (and pareve!) cranberry sauce upside down cake (recipe below).

And there are lots more ways to put those thanksgiving leftovers to good use. How about pumpkin pancakes made with leftover pumpkin pie filling for breakfast? Or pumpkin challah? Depending on what leftover vegetables you have, they can be added to the soup or used to make a frittata, which is good hot or cold.

What are your favorite ways to repurpose Thanksgiving leftovers for Shabbat?

Leftover Turkey Stock

Use this recipe as a guideline. Instead of the ingredients recommended, consider saving all your veggie scraps from Thanksgiving prep and using them instead. Add peppercorns, garlic, thyme, or whatever other flavors you prefer. This can make as much stock as your pot can hold. The bigger the pot the longer the cooking time.

1 turkey carcass cut to fit in pot, meat removed (set aside)
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 large onion, quartered (skin and all)
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
Parsley or dill stems
Salt and pepper

1) Put the turkey carcass and remaining ingredients in a large stockpot and cover with cold water.

2) Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a simmer, spooning out any scum that may float to the surface. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 3 hours, until stock is flavorful.

3) Remove from the heat and allow to cool fully. Skim any fat or scum from the top. Ideally, refrigerate for a few hours or overnight (this will make it easier to skim fat from the surface since it will solidify in the cold).

4) Use within a day or two, or freeze for a few months.

Turkey Matzo Ball Soup

Serves: 4

½ cup matzo meal
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons seltzer
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 quarts turkey stock (recipe above)
1 cup shredded turkey meat
Dill, for garnish

1) Put the matzo meal, eggs, seltzer, vegetable oil, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl and mix until fully combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 hour.

2) Remove the matzo mixture from the refrigerator. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

3) Dampen your hands and form 8 to 10 balls the size of ping pongs, wetting your hands slightly if they get sticky.

4) Drop the matzo balls into the boiling water. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. 5) Meanwhile, add the shredded turkey meat to the stock and heat over medium-low heat.

6) When done, remove the matzo balls and add them to the hot turkey stock. Serve immediately, garnished with dill.

Cranberry Sauce Upside Down Cake

Makes 1 cake (Serves: 8 to 12)

1½ cups sugar, divided
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1½ cups whole berry cranberry sauce (homemade or from a 14-oz can)
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

1) Preheat oven to 350F.

2) Grease a 9½-inch round springform pan on all sides.

3) Combine ½ cup sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the bottom of the greased pan, tapping on the counter to distribute it.

4) Carefully pour the cranberry sauce over the sugar, pressing it down and making sure it covers the entire bottom.

5) In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and remaining 1 cup sugar until well combined.

6) Add the flour, baking powder, vegetable oil, vanilla and salt and mix well.

7) Pour over the cranberry sauce-lined cake pan. Put the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

8) Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto a plate or cake stand, release the sides of the springform pan, and carefully remove the bottom (now at the top). Allow to cool for another 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


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