I was looking at a pre-made jar of gravy which suggested throwing some leftover Thanksgiving food in a pan, pouring said-gravy all over it, and baking it as a casserole. This seemed entirely without nuance, akin to what my late mother would undoubtedly call a turkey version of “shit on a shingle.” Yes, my mom developed quite a taste for cursing after working at a high school in the Albuquerque Public School system…
For this particular Thanksgiving, I was unable to buy my usual boneless breasts of turkey and had to buy a 15-pound bird. I was thinking there must be a more attractive way to make a casserole out of leftover items from Thanksgiving, so I set to work on it. The results were delicious enough to post in public, so here it is. After trying to dismantle my bird, I was reminded of why I abandoned whole turkeys and switched to breasts. Next year, I’ll buy earlier than I did this year. Fortunately, I was spared having to deal with the frame, since my son-in-law the chef took it away to make stock.
- 2 cups cold leftover seasoned mashed potatoes
- ¼ cup 1% milk
- ½ pound cooked turkey, diced
- About 1½ cups of a leftover cooked green vegetable, such as peas
- About 1½ cups of a leftover cooked orange vegetable, such as carrots
- 1½ cups leftover thin turkey gravy
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
- 1/3 cup very soft salted butter
Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 7″ by 11″ baking dish with cooking spray. Place dish on a large baking sheet. Combine the potatoes well with the milk in a large bowl. Spread evenly into the prepared dish.
You may use most any type of vegetable here, but preferably two different colors. Broccoli and cauliflower florets would work as well as peas and carrots, as would Brussels sprouts and yellow squash. Cut larger vegetables into bite-size pieces. In the same bowl (don’t bother rinsing it out), combine the turkey, vegetables, and gravy well. Pour over the potatoes and spread evenly.
Rinse and dry the bowl. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and cheese well with your hands. Add the butter and mix in with your hands. Rub your hands together to produce a clumpy mixture. Spread this evenly over the top of the turkey mixture to cover all. Bake 50 minutes. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes. Serves 4-6. Cover and chill leftovers.
Of course, this casserole can work at other times of the year, and would certainly work with chicken or other cooked meats. Perhaps you have some roast beef and gravy around from a Sunday dinner—try it out!