Turkey Reuben

Q: What’s the most obvious thing to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers come Friday?

You might say, “make a Gobbler.”

Gobblers, if you don’t know, are Thanksgiving dinner on a sandwich. You take bread, and you load it up with turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, praying that this version of yesterday’s meal, physically different but metaphysically the same, somehow takes you on a transcendent eating adventure. Now Gobblers are charming and delicious, but  they’re not going to get you there. They are the wrong approach.

So what’s good?

A: Make a Turkey Reuben.

The key to enjoying your leftovers to the utmost is to turn them (at least by Saturday) into something that doesn’t remind you of the chaotic, overlarge Thanksgiving meal. Rather than recreate Thursday, repurpose what’s in your fridge to improvise new dishes that are better suited for Saturday.

Normally made with corned beef, a Reuben combines silky Russian dressing, nutty Swiss cheese, and pungent sauerkraut for an awesome sandwich experience. I first had a turkey Reuben at Artie’s Deli on the Upper West Side with my mom and Kate. I had just returned from a semester abroad in Paris, and for the first few days I was back in New York, I could barely eat a thing. It was as though allllll the pain au chocolats, coqs au vin, and steak frites were sitting, like cement, in my belly. Don’t ask my why the turkey Reuben, not exactly a low-calorie lunch, stuck out to me as the right way to regain my appetite, but this simple New York pleasure totally worked.

If it could redeem me after six months of feasting à la français, a turkey Reuben seems just the thing to snap you out of indulgent holiday eating and back into everyday goodness, without leaving those awesome leftovers to fester in the fridge.

What will you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Tell us in the comments!

From my kitchen, getting through the turkey one slice at a time, to yours,



Turkey Reuben
Serves 1

Depending on the size of your bread (and your stomach), vary the amount of turkey, cheese, and sauerkraut in your sandwich. You don’t, however, want your Reuben to be totally overstuffed–it’ll get dry then.

If you happened to have served slaw at your Thanksgiving, you can substitute that for the kraut.

1 rounded tablespoon mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
1/4 teaspoon mustard, preferably whole grain
Worcestershire sauce
2 slices rye bread
4 teaspoons butter
3 ounces leftover turkey, sliced thin (you’ll about 5 thin-ish slices)
1 1/2 ouncess Swiss cheese, sliced thin
1/4 cup fresh sauerkraut, drained

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, ketchup, mustard, a few drops of Worcestershire, and a pinch of salt. Mix with a fork to distribute all the ingredients–this is your Russian dressing.

Spread about half of the Russian dressing on the inside of each slice of rye bread. Layer 3/4 of the cheese on the bottom, then the turkey. Spread the sauerkraut over it all, then top with the remaining 1/4 of the cheese. Place the second piece of bread, dressing side down, on top of the sandwich.

In a small nonstick or castiron pan, melt 2 teaspoons of the butter oven medium-low heat. Carefully transfer the sandwich to the pan. Cook slowly, turning down the heat if the sandwich is sizzling too much. The cheese should be well on its way to melting within 10 minutes. When the bottom side is golden, use a spatula to transfer the sandwich to a plate.

Melt the remaining 2 teaspoons of butter, and then carefully flip the sandwich and put it back in the pan. Find something heavy to weight it down–I have a Lodge brand sandwich press, but a 28-ounce can of tomatoes works too–and balance that on top of the sandwich as it cooks on the second side for 5-10 minutes, until golden on the outside and melty on the inside. Transfer back to a plate, cut in half, and eat immediately.

  • Frankie

    I make other people take most of the carved turkey home, but there’s always stuff on the carcass, so I like to make a Greek-style egg-lemon-garlic soup with chunks of bird.

  • DormRoomDinner

    Wow that sandwich looks SO delicious! I love turkey reubens, has every component a good turkey sandwich needs. #putitinasandwich

  • Heathbar

    Yummy looking. So hard to get turkey here in the UK unless it is at Christmas time. Have you ever made this with chicken?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I haven’t – but I think it could certainly work. Let me know if you try.

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