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How to Make the Perfect Thanksgiving Leftovers Breakfast

One quick recipe to nail the breakfast after, courtesy of James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Raquel Pelzel.

Evan Sung

Many Americans agree: one of the best parts of Thanksgiving comes the morning after. Leftovers. For James Beard Award-winning cookbook writer Raquel Pelzel, foraging through the fridge on Friday morning often results in a Thanksgiving-inspired tartine. “Even if you’re missing any of the elements,” she writes in her title, Toast: The Cookbook, “it’s simple to create a workaround.” Substitute the mashed potatoes with stuffing, cranberries with applesauce or even vegetables with turkey. The versatility of a tartine also suggests that Pelzel’s dish doesn’t have to be exclusive to Thanksgiving, and should serve as a reminder that it’s not only possible, but delicious, to elevate leftovers throughout the year.

5 tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter
4 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 1/4 cups (285g) shredded turkey meat (preferably a combination of white and dark meat)
Kosher (coarse) salt
Four 3/4-inch (2cm) thick slice bread
3/4 cup (180g) mashed potatoes (warmed in the microwave)
1/4 cup (about 60g) grated cheese (such as Cheddar, Swiss, or Gouda)
1/2 cup (120mL) cranberry sauce or relish
1/2 cup (120mL) gravy (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

1. Place the butter, sage and garlic in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20-second increments on high until the butter is melted and the sage and garlic are fragrant, up to 30 seconds.

2. Measure out two tablespoons of the sage butter and transfer to a medium skillet (frying pan) set over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook, stirring often, until the turkey is somewhat crispy and warmed through, no more than 3 to 4 minutes (take care not to dry out the turkey). Season with a few pinches of salt and set aside.

3. Preheat the broiler (grill) to high. Brush the remaining three tablespoons of the sage butter over the bread and arrange on a baking sheet. [Toast until golden brown]. Leave the broiler on.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the mashed potatoes and cheese. Spread the cranberry sauce over the buttered side of each toast. Divide the cheesy mashed potatoes over the cranberry sauce and return the toasts to the broiler until the potatoes are lightly browned on top, 30 seconds to one minute (watch the potatoes closely as broiler intensities vary).

5. To serve, mound the turkey on top of the potatoes, pour the gravy over the top (if using), and sprinkle with chives.

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