In addition to plenty of deals and an afternoon NFL game, this year’s edition of Black Friday will provide your annual opportunity to take part in what may be the most underrated holiday tradition in America: making, and devouring, a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich. From Kentucky’s famous Hot Brown to the disturbingly named “Moist Maker” (which was popularized by Friends), the Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich comes in many shapes and forms. It’s a seasonal offering in some locations and a year-round mainstay in others locales, including parts of New England where it’s known as the Pilgrim or Gobbler.
Though it’s unclear who first came up with the idea of sticking leftover turkey, stuffing (or dressing), cranberry sauce and gravy between bread, the first Gobbler was probably inhaled around the turn of the 20th century when sliced bread began to gain popularity. But bread is far from the only vehicle that’s been used to deliver Thanksgiving leftovers — the ingredients have found their way onto everything from Pop-Tarts to croissants.
For his take on the day-after-Thanksgiving staple, the Turkey Feast Toastie, Josh Pickens — head of production at Danish bakery chain Ole & Steen — selected a ciabatta roll to serve as his base. “I’m a classically trained bread baker, so I would say bread is king,” Pickens says. “It’s not a good sandwich without good bread.”
Pickens, who grew up on leftovers sandwiches on Martin’s Potato Rolls, settled on topping the house-made Ole & Steen rolls with smoked turkey, tarragon mayo, sausage stuffing, cheddar cheese, spinach and cranberry sauce after plenty of experimentation. Like a comfortable rug in a cozy room, one of those pieces really ties the sandwich together, according to Pickens.
“The process for us is spending a week or two trying other people’s versions and then bringing what we liked and what’s missing to the table,” he says. “A fun part of developing a new recipe is going and seeing what other people are doing and eating critically. The component that sticks out for me is the sausage stuffing because I think the pork adds some bite and crunch. With that sandwich, everything can have a really soft, similar texture. I think the stuffing really helps elevate the whole sandwich with some nice flavor profiles.”
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Available at NYC Ole & Steen’s until January 1, the sandwich has yet to make the leap overseas — for now. “Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Denmark, so this sandwich really makes no sense to them,” Pickens says. “But sandwiches are a space where we can play around and understand what the market wants and see what sticks and what doesn’t. To me, Thanksgiving sandwiches are more of an emotion or a feeling. When I take a bite of this sandwich, all of the special things of the holiday are within that bite, and I am brought back to the Thanksgiving table.”
Use this year’s leftovers to try Ole & Steen’s take on the sandwich.
Ole & Steen’s Turkey Feast Toastie
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: One hearty sandwich
- 1 ciabatta roll
- 2 Tbsp. mayo
- 1 stem of tarragon (adjust to taste preference)
- .5 cup Stove Top sage stuffing
- .25 cup chopped Italian sausage
- .25 lb. thinly-sliced cracked pepper mill turkey breast
- 2 Tbsp. cranberry sauce (Stonewall Kitchen Holiday Spiced)
- 1 thick slice aged cheddar cheese
Mise en place
Preheat oven or toaster to 425 degrees.
Chop the tarragon as fine as you can and mix it into the mayo. The flavor will develop if made in advance, and I would encourage making extra.
Make a full box of stuffing.
For the sausage, I would get a nice link from the local butcher shop. Cook this on a skillet until cooked through. Once cooled, chop it into ¼-inch-sized pieces and set aside.
To build the sandwich
Slice the ciabatta roll in half. Spread the tarragon mayo on the inside of each half.
Starting from the bottom, start layering by placing ½ cup of the stuffing on the ciabatta. The next layer is the ¼ cup of cooked sausage. Hold that all together with the turkey slices.
Once the turkey breast is in place, scoop your cranberry sauce on top of the turkey and gently press it all down with the slice of aged cheddar.
Top with the other ciabatta half. Toast the whole sandwich in the oven until the cheese starts to melt, about 5 to 10 minutes. Enjoy!
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