by Terese Allen, Food Editor
Doesnít everyone have a favorite food from the holiday menu? Usually itís a comfort dish like mashed potatoes and giblet gravy or a family heritage recipe, like Grandmaís wild rice stuffing. Sometimes itís a once-a-year specialty, maybe cousin Billís bourbon-laced pecan pumpkin pie, or that cherry cream cheese Jell-O salad your sister always makes.
My own holiday favorite, though, is a little different. What I like best is the carcass--yep, the turkey remains or that meaty ham bone thatís around when the big day is over. These (and other) leftovers have enticing potentialóthey can be transformed into something delicious to nourish you through the post-holiday letdown days. In fact, they make you feel better about the excesses of the season, for out of seeming nothing comes sensible dishes like turkey noodle soup and red beans and rice.
Leftovers bring out the creative spirit, too. Make of them what you will, or use the recipes below as a springboard for ideas. That's the beauty of such edible remnants--they're inspiring and pragmatic. And just the thing for extending that holiday feeling.
Turkey Noodle Soup - There's no substitute for fragrant, long-simmered homemade broth made from a leftover holiday bird.
Turkey Pot Pie - This dish from Ohio Organic Valley farmer Charlene Stoller combines chunks of turkey and vegetables in a creamy, broth-rich veloute sauce, topped with pie dough, mashed potatoes, or biscuits.
Creole Red Beans and Rice - This classic New Orleans dish is the perfect thing to make with a leftover ham bone.
Chippewa-Style Wild Rice with Bacon and Eggs - Adapted from a recipe in The Art of American Indian Cooking by Yeffe Kimball and Jean Anderson.
Bistro Lentils and Ham - Adding a modest amount of smoked meat to plain-Jane dried legumes is a time-honored way to make a little go a long, unctuous way.
Smoked Salmon and Whipped Potato Patties - The leftovers from a special occasional mealónamely, smoked salmon from an appetizer tray and mashed potatoes from the main course--were the inspiration for these savory sautťed patties.
Cheddar Corn Bread - Corn kernels and Organic Valley's famous Raw Sharp Cheddar turn an ordinary corn bread into something very special.