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  • Writer's pictureRose Bud

What Do Chefs Make with Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey? Here's What...

Don't be nervous to refurbish.


Who throws out the leftovers of a Thanksgiving feast after slaving away in the kitchen for hours? Definitely, not my mother. She will transform this American bird into a Mexican one. While I'll make myself a quick sandwich, the day after; my mother will make a rich Mexican Mole Poblano with the remaining turkey. The sweet and spicy mole is dominant in flavor while maintaining the meat moist. A home run for my mother!

There are a million ways you can prepare turkey even if what you're working with are the leftovers. A simple approach to this, is to use it as a cold cut or a substitute for chicken.

Moreover, the culinary game is alive and strong in the Temecula Valley with award winning chefs residing at acclaimed wineries, casinos, breweries and other unique establishments. There is no shortage of creative talent, in this valley.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I decided to consult a few of our top chefs in prospects of getting to know them better.... and stealing their bright ideas. You can thank me for this later. I was compelled to ask them the million dollar question: what dish do you make from leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Here is what they had to say...


RefurDished: a waffle sandwich by pressing the stuffing in the waffle griddle. Then, sandwich the turkey meat with cheddar, honey mustard, sliced fresh apples, cranberry sauce & gravy for dipping.

Favorite Dish: candied sweet potatoes.


RefurDished: chunky home-style turkey pot pies. Sweat veggies (onions, celery, peas, carrots) in a pan; then deglaze with white wine. Add gravy, herbs & turkey into the mix. Pour mixture in ramekins and cover with puff pastry for a flaky crust.

Favorite Dish: lumpy mash potatoes.


Anthony Bartollota | Fazeli Cellars

RefurDished: a take on shepherd's pie by using the stuffing, turkey & gravy. Add sage derby cheese & scallion to the mash potato for a nice top layer.

Favorite Dish: his mom's non-traditional stuffing made of ground beef & rice.


RefurDished: a turkey melt with cheddar on sourdough. Add bacon & avocado. Optional additions: stuffing, cranberry sauce & gravy for dipping.

Favorite Dish: deep fried turkey. Also, sweet potato casserole with pecan & marshmallow topping.


Jeffery Willett | The Bridge on Third

RefurDished: turkey & waffles by pressing the stuffing in the waffle griddle.

Favorite Dish: chocolate pumpkin bread pudding topped with chocolate ganache & crème anglaise.


Wayne Quintos | The Urban Craft Eatery

RefurDished: pulled turkey sandwich. Make a nice sauce for the meat by mixing the cranberry sauce with chipotle & adobo. Then, prepare an apple, fennel & red onion slaw.

Favorite Dish: salted caramel glazed ham & pecan streusel sweet potato casserole.


Steven Agosto | Kelsey's Bar & Grill

RefurDished: a breakfast hash by using potatoes & other veggies. Toss in turkey, stuffing & gravy. Add a sunny side up egg & let the yolk bring it all together.

Favorite Dish: sweet potato pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*Courtesy photos.


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