When You are Full of Turkey Sandwiches or Pot Pies, Have a Turkey Burrito

The best thing about Thanksgiving Dinner is all the wonderful leftovers.

Personally, my favorite is a turkey sandwich with mayonnaise and lettuce, salt and pepper, and lettuce on fairly non-challenging bread. Tomorrow we will eat our dinner late in the afternoon, and the only thing wrong with that is that I’ll still be full by bedtime, and will have to wait until Friday for my sandwich.

Turns out that sandwiches and pot pies are the top favored ways to use turkey leftovers. I suppose that seemed too simple an idea to share when I asked last week because no one sent a response. So on Monday when I had to go to Bangor, I asked the good people I ran into on the way at the bank, dentist’s office, and store what their favorite leftover was.

At the bank, Kate told me that she piles, turkey, vegetables and gravy into a casserole and puts leftover mashed potatoes on top and makes a kind of shepherd’s pie out of it. I told her that I put turkey and gravy into a casserole and pile stuffing on top and bake it until the stuffing is crispy. We end up eating the vegetables on the side.

At the store, the young lady said, “Turkey sandwiches—on white bread.” Further discussions with others showed, however, that stuffing, cranberry sauce, and turkey all meet up in post-dinner sandwiches. My hygienist Laurie’s daughter makes a sandwich out of leftovers and pours gravy on top.

Laurie has a husband who likes to cook, too, and he makes pot pies. Another lady at the dentist’s office makes pot pies to freeze for Christmas Eve, and then uses the mashed potatoes in that wonderful French Canadian spiced pork and potato dish, tourtiere, traditionally also served on Christmas Eve.

Then there is turkey soup. Hallelujah.

Of course, whether or not you have leftovers depends on how many will be at your table. Laurie figures on twelve, and Toby and I have fourteen. If we eat all the turkey, though, I have another in the freezer (heh, heh.)

You don’t need a recipe, do you, for either sandwiches or pot pies? So here instead is a wrinkle on the sandwich idea sent me a couple years ago by Ruth Thurston in Machias for a post-Thanksgiving turkey burrito.

Turkey Burrito
Serves: two
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup leftover, cut-up turkey, white and dark meat mixed
  • 2 large spoonfuls leftover stuffing
  • 3 or 4 scallions, chopped
  • 2 flour tortillas
  • Salsa to taste, or hot sauce
  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, and sauté the onion until just tender, about five minutes.
  2. Add the turkey and stuffing, and allow the stuffing to brown a little.
  3. Sprinkle on the scallions, then divide the mixture between the tortillas.
  4. Add the salsa or hot sauce, and roll the tortillas up.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.