With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, the come-down from the buildup to the overindulgent food-fest can feel almost depressing. Gone are the turkey- and gravy-infused daydreams that saw you through endless meetings in the holiday run-up.
But now that you’re away from your overly politicized niece (or nephew or cousin or aunt) and your spouse is satisfied that the kitchen is finally back to clean, let’s get down to the best part of post-Thanksgiving — the leftovers. Uneaten mains and sides, plus a few slices of your favorite bread, will keep that holiday spirit going into your long, holiday weekend. They’re the fixings for whipping up a day-after “Moist-Maker.”
For those who aren’t fluent in Friends, that’s the name of the sandwich Monica (Courteney Cox) creates the day after Thanksgiving for her brother, Ross (David Schwimmer). “Her secret is, she puts an extra slice of gravy-soaked bread in the middle,” says Ross, who loves this sandwich so much that he ends up on a forced sabbatical from work when his goes missing.
It’s that delicious.
And that easy to recreate, too, with directions from James Beard-winning chef and restaurateur Jonathan Waxman. He guided RealClearLife through the steps to duplicate Monica’s sitcom masterpiece — and then shared optional add-ons to make your actual version even better.
In your fridge, there’s bound to be leftover bird. After all, more than a third of the turkey eaten in the U.S. on Thanksgiving — 736 million pounds in 2015 — doesn’t get gobbled up, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Also key are the cranberry sauce that hardly anyone touched, that mound of stuffing you squirreled away, and a few ladles of gravy.
Put it all together and the day after never tasted so good.
What you’ll need for each “Moist-Maker”
• Three slices of bread or a sourdough roll or Kaiser roll, sliced into thirds
• Thinly sliced turkey, white or dark meat — as much as your heart desires
• Leftover cranberry sauce
• A “smear” of both white and sweet mashed potatoes
• A few sliced, leftover roasted Brussels sprouts — if you’ve got them
• Leftover stuffing, preferably homemade
• Turkey gravy
What to do:
Heat up your turkey. It “needs to be hot,” according to Waxman. The best way to do that without drying it out is to arrange the meat in a deep baking sheet. Add some moisture (enough gravy to just fill the bottom of the pan) and fat (about two tablespoons, divided and scattered across the turkey). Reheating is a low and slow process best done in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes.
Now, the fun part: stacking those ingredients.
On the bottom slice of your favorite bread — Waxman recommends a Kaiser or sourdough roll, which you’ll need to slice into thirds — pile on warm turkey, spoon on a layer of the leftover cranberry sauce and add a spread of leftover stuffing.
To recreate the signature ingredient in Monica’s masterpiece, the “Moist-Maker,” “heat some turkey gravy and dip the roll into the gravy until the bread is soaked,” Waxman instructs. That’s your next layer.
Finally, in a variation of the Friends original, the award0winning chef imagines “a smear of mashed potatoes, a smear of mashed sweet potatoes” and a couple of sliced up, roasted Brussels sprouts, if you featured them on your holiday table. Finish by dipping the cut side of the remaining half of your roll in the gravy before topping the whole thing off.
“Then,” says Waxman, “devour with gusto.”
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