Not in the mood for a turkey sandwich? Kim Hendrickson has the solution
Looking for light lunch fare or easy finger foods for the next gathering after Thanksgiving? Good news: sometimes leftovers are the best part of the Thanksgiving meal. My family looks forward to turning the turkey carcass and meat scraps into delicious soup — but keep in mind that what’s usually leftover from a big holiday feast can be easily turned into bite-sized entertaining fare. The ingredients for appetizers and hors d’oeuvres can be assembled in a smaller, creative way with a focus on intense flavor.
Take this turkey cranberry relish recipe, which I invented after a past Thanksgiving when I was surrounded by leftovers. This savory bite can be served as a before dinner hors d’oeuvre, or finger food, beautifully presented on endive leaf tips. For a great luncheon salad increase the amount of turkey and serve over a luncheon plate of mesculin greens for a quick and easy meal with friends. And best of all, if you’re like me and crave turkey and cranberry flavors more than once a year, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving. These traditional ingredients have a new life in these festive bites for any holiday party.
Turkey Cranberry Relish Scoops
Yield: 24 scoops
1 ½ cups diced cooked turkey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
½ cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned, drained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
½ apple, unpeeled, cored, and cut into ½ -inch chunks
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½ orange, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
24 endive leaves
Thyme sprigs, as garnish
Toss turkey and thyme in a small bowl. Pulse remaining ingredients except endive in a food processor until pureed. (Relish can be made a few days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.) Spoon onto the base of each endive leaf, top with diced turkey, and garnish with a little more relish and a thyme sprig.
Even frozen cranberries can be hard to find, so stock up when in season. Plumped dried cranberries will also work, or raspberries. For variety, replace endive with mini bok choy, or cranberries with 1½ cups blackberries or strawberries.
Leftover turkey or roasted chicken makes a wonderful lunch dish when topped with warmed cranberry relish. The contrast of sweet meat and tart sauce is delicious. Serves 3.
Editor’s Note: Kim Hendrickson is the author of the Tastefully Small cookbook series. She has catered for the New York Metropolitan Opera, and the Penguin Rep Theatre, the Bizarre Food show and Slangman’s World. She is a regular presenter at the World Tea Expo, the John C. Campbell Folk School, and at culinary events throughout the New York area.