When I was visiting my sister Linda recently we came up with a sandwich that made us laugh, but it really was good! I like just about anything in a sandwich that is grilled, by which I mean grilled on a flat griddle on the stove. I’m not even fussy if there’s no interesting meat in the fridge to add to the layers of veggies and/or fruit. I’m all for a tomato/spinach/cucumber/Havarti grilled until the bread is deliciously browned and crispy. Meat is optional.
Using fruit for one of the layers of my sandwiches has been my latest passion. I recently tried peaches when they were in season and they were so good I wondered why I’d never tried them before. I’ve tried avocados with several variations of ingredients and that’s always a hit.
Linda and I had tested a new stuffing in preparation for Thanksgiving, and had plenty of turkey breast leftover. We thought why couldn’t we use some sourdough bread and layer it with turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and spinach? It would be our new Grilled Leftovers Sandwich.
Linda said we needed a hook, one that would make us stand out with a new ingredient that would make people go “hmmm” and decide we might be crazy sisters. She thought using pecans, mixing them with the cranberries, would be a neat twist. We rationalized that people often put pecans in stuffing or cranberries, it was really a natural addition.
While I was working on a side dish to serve with our sandwiches (Fritos Fritters that will be a later blog), Linda built the sandwiches. Using sourdough bread, she layered the stuffing on the slices. Ideally the stuffing should have been cold and stiff enough to slice, but ours had been a little dry so it didn’t stay in slices. No big deal.
Next she layered the pieces of turkey breast on the stuffing. The stuffing already contained pieces of turkey so we were packing a lot of turkey into each sandwich. Which is not a problem. We love turkey!
Linda opened a can of jellied cranberries (the kind that make the delicious sucking sound when you dump them out of the can). She mashed about a third of the can with a fork and added about 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped pecans. She spread it on top of the turkey layer of each sandwich.
Linda was negative on adding the fresh spinach to the sandwich but I insisted, saying it was adding more of the “leftovers” from the meal. The spinach would represent the salad portion. She agreed it actually did make sense and layered the spinach over the turkey, put the tomato slices on the second slice of bread, then carefully put the sandwich slices together and they were ready to grill.
We heated a non-skillet since Linda doesn’t have a flat griddle (note to self: birthday idea!). She buttered the top side of the sandwich then set it on that side in the heated pan. Once it was in the pan she buttered the remaining side in preparation for flipping when the first side was browned. These could be made faster on a Panini press, but neither of us has one of those. I have resisted buying yet another appliance I will rarely use.
We were so busy chatting and making our lunch that we forgot to take pictures of the sandwiches being grilled. Ooops! You’ll have to imagine them fried one at a time in a large skillet.
When both sides of the sandwiches were browned we cut them in half, took the obligatory pictures, and sat down to eat and watch a video on a nearby laptop. I have to say the Leftover Sandwiches were excellent! The cranberries made it a true leftover feast, adding a tangy fruit kick to the sandwich. The pecans were a bit of crunch and the turkey, well that goes unsaid. It’s always good.
We’d debated whether to add cheese to the layers, and decided against it. The stuffing recipe had a good deal of Gruyere in it and we left it at that. I think for future sandwiches I’d like more cheese, maybe slices of provolone or Swiss. One creamy, melty touch to an already delicious sandwich would be nice. I’ll leave it listed as optional in the recipe. It can be your choice.
Leftover Thanksgiving Sandwiches
Slices of sourdough or another rustic bread
Slices of roast turkey; your choice of white or dark meat
Leftover stuffing; sliced
Several tablespoons of cranberry sauce per sandwich
Slices of cheese; your choice (optional)
Butter for frying
For each sandwich: layer one slice of bread with stuffing, then turkey.
Layer several leaves of fresh spinach over the turkey layer.
In a bowl mash the cranberries and stir in several tablespoons of chopped pecans. Spread on the second slice of bread.
Put slices of bread together and butter the top. Place in non-stick skillet heated over medium heat, buttered side down.