Green Bean Casserole Farrotto, made by executive chef Megan Brent of New Realm Brewing, is one of the recipes that Atlanta chefs offered for making creative use of your Thanksgiving leftovers. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: Henri Hollis
Photo: Henri Hollis

Atlanta chefs share recipes for using Thanksgiving leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving.

On this day, we come together for the cozy fall holiday, sharing thankful thoughts around the table. We set the table with dishes, piled high with traditional family recipes. Whatever your custom, it’s a day made for the cushy comforts of home.

When the feast is over and the china has been put away, the refrigerator might still be packed. Keep the feast going forward by mixing up a special dish — or two or three or four — featuring those leftovers. We enlisted Atlanta chefs to help fashion leftovers into dishes you will look forward to as much as the originals.

For the morning after Thanksgiving, try the Sweet Potato Waffle with Cranberry Sorghum Syrup. The recipe is from chef Hudson Rouse of Rising Son. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: Henri Hollis

Sweet Potato Waffle with Cranberry Sorghum Syrup

“Our Thanksgiving meal has been pretty much the same my whole life,” said Hudson Rouse, chef-owner of Avondale Estates Southern comfort restaurant Rising Son. To shake up the feast routine, he likes to cook a mashup meal late night on Thanksgiving or the next morning for breakfast. “I’m usually thinking what I’m going to make next with everything during the Thanksgiving meal,” he said. Turning a savory sweet potato side dish into a sweet and savory breakfast dish has become part of the tradition. Instead of serving waffles with maple syrup, he prepares cranberry sorghum syrup using leftover cranberry sauce.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Waffle with Cranberry Sorghum Syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for frying
  • 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Combine the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Set aside.

Recipe: Cranberry Sorghum Syrup
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sorghum syrup (substitute with 1 tablespoon of molasses plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for frying
  • Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve warm over waffles or pancakes. Makes 1 cup.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per tablespoon: 52 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), trace protein, 6 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 3 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 8 milligrams cholesterol, 32 milligrams sodium.

—Courtesy of Rising Son chef-owner Hudson Rouse

Butcher Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market and Chop Shop uses leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make turkey rillettes seasoned with fresh thyme, parsley and sage. CONTRIBUTED BY RUSTY BOWERS
Photo: Rusty Bowers

Leftover Turkey Rillettes

“Most people prefer the turkey breast on Thanksgiving and the dark meat is overlooked,” said butcher Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market in Avondale Estates and Chop Shop in Edgewood. His solution for using the rich, flavorful dark meat is to turn it into rillettes, a meat preparation similar to pâté. “This is something we make after every Thanksgiving,” Bowers said, calling it an excellent dish to serve at holiday parties or to offer as a hostess gift.

Recipe: Leftover Turkey Rillettes
  • 2 pounds cooked dark meat turkey
  • 1 cup chicken or turkey broth
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons rendered turkey fat or butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 sprig thyme, minced
  • 1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crackers or toasted bread for serving
  • Place the turkey meat and broth in a small pot over medium heat. Simmer 10 minutes. Strain the turkey meat, reserving the broth.
  • Transfer the turkey to a bowl and shred with a fork. Once shredded, transfer the turkey to a cutting board and mince with a knife. Add the meat back to the bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of the rendered turkey fat, 1 tablespoon of the reserved broth, and the vinegar, thyme, parsley, orange zest, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasoning. The mixture should be the consistency of a “soft blob,” like a wet but cohesive dough. If the mixture is too dry, add more broth, 1 teaspoon at a time. If too wet, mince more leftover turkey and add the meat to the mixture.
  • Pack 5 (8-ounce) Mason jars with 1 cup each of the turkey mixture. There should be 1/2-inch headspace. Fill the headspace of each jar with the remaining turkey fat. Screw the lids on tightly and chill in the refrigerator 3 hours up to overnight, until the fat congeals and forms a seal. When ready to serve, scoop out and discard the top layer of fat. Serve chilled or at room temperature with toasted bread or crackers. Turkey rillettes will keep up to 12 months, refrigerated, as long as the fat seal has not been broken. Once the fat seal is broken, consume within 7 days. Each jar serves 4-6. Recipe makes 20 total servings.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 154 calories (percent of calories from fat, 65), 13 grams protein, trace carbohydrates, trace fiber, 11 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, 163 milligrams sodium.

Courtesy of Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market and Chop Shop

The Iberian Pig executive chef John Castellucci’s creamy and crisp turkey croquetas are a way to experience the comfort of a Thanksgiving meal the day after Thanksgiving. CONTRIBUTED BY EMILY BLACKWOOD
Photo: Emily Blackwood

Turkey Croquetas

The Iberian Pig executive chef John Castellucci loves to use leftover turkey meat to make croquetas the next day. “You can use both the breast and thigh. It extends the shelf life on them 3-4 days and you don’t have to worry about the breast drying out,” he said.

Recipe: Turkey Croquetas
  • 1 1/2 pounds (6 sticks) butter
  • 2 cups onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup garlic, minced
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 5 sheets silver-strength leaf gelatin
  • 8 cups whole milk, divided
  • 3 bay leaves (in sachet)
  • 3 1/2 pounds cooked turkey, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups canola oil for frying
  • Melt butter over low heat in a Dutch oven or rondeau pot. Cook onions and garlic until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in 6 cups flour, stirring to work out any pockets of flour from the roux. Once the roux turns blond in color, cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, “bloom” the gelatin by adding the gelatin sheets to a small bowl of ice water. Let sit 3-5 minutes, until softened. In a saucepan, whisk 2 cups of milk over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Drain ice water from bowl and add gelatin to the milk. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 6 cups milk to the roux in the Dutch oven. Add bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye on the pan and stirring every 1-3 minutes to avoid scorching and to cook out the flour. (A rubber spatula works best for this part of the process.) Stir in the milk-gelatin mixture. Fold in the turkey and mix until combined. Season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool in refrigerator until fully set (6-8 hours).
  • When ready to shape and fry the croquetas: Set up a breading station with 3 separate bowls: 1 with the 2 remaining cups flour, 1 with the beaten eggs for an egg wash, 1 with the panko breadcrumbs.
  • Remove bay leaves from the turkey mixture. To form the croquetas, scoop 4 tablespoons of the turkey mixture and shape into a round ball with your hands until nice and smooth. Roll in flour until fully coated. Dust off and transfer to the egg wash. Roll the croqueta in egg wash until no pockets of flour are visible. Carefully transfer to the bowl of breadcrumbs so as not to drip extra egg wash into the breadcrumb bowl. Cover with the breadcrumbs and transfer to a sheet pan.
  • Add the oil to a large pot. When the oil reaches 350 degrees, fry croquetas in batches, cooking until the outside is golden brown and the center is heated through, 2-3 minutes. Makes 20-30 croquetas.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per croqueta, based on 20: 769 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 34 grams protein, 50 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 47 grams fat (22 grams saturated), 191 milligrams cholesterol, 422 milligrams sodium.

Courtesy of the Iberian Pig executive chef John Castellucci

Green Bean Casserole Farrotto, made by executive chef Megan Brent of New Realm Brewing, is a great way to repurpose a favorite holiday side dish. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: Henri Hollis

Green Bean Casserole Farrotto

New Realm Brewing executive chef Megan Brent puts a clever spin on traditional Italian risotto by using farro instead of rice and adding leftover green bean casserole for the base flavor. The dish is an ode to her brother because green bean casserole is his favorite Thanksgiving dish. “My mom makes it every year, the old-school way with mushroom soup and those French’s crispy onions,” Brent said. “She makes so much of it that we always have so much left over. Reheating it doesn’t look pretty, so I came up with this recipe. It’s one of my favorites.”

If your family doesn’t include green bean casserole on the menu, other leftover Thanksgiving vegetables can be used instead. Substitute 1 1/2 cups roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted carrots, or squash for the green beans.

Recipe: Green Bean Casserole Farrotto
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, divided
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup shallots, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 cups farro
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 sprigs thyme, minced
  • 1 spring rosemary, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 1/2 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared green bean casserole, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)
  • Canned French fried onions, such as French’s (optional)
  • In a medium pan or saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat until melted. Add the sliced onions, a handful at a time, stirring and letting them cook slightly before adding the next handful. When all the slices have been added, cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown. Set aside.
  • Heat a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallots and garlic. Cook until translucent. Add the farro, stirring to coat the grains in the butter, and lightly toast the farro. Add the wine, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Reduce heat to low. As the grains begin to absorb the liquid, ladle in the chicken or turkey stock in small amounts, until the grains are barely covered with liquid. Stir occasionally. Add more stock each time the previous addition has been absorbed. This will take around 30 minutes.
  • Add the chopped green bean casserole, caramelized onions, mascarpone and Parmesan cheeses and the remaining 3 tablespoons butter to the farro. Continue to stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste. Garnish with chives and fried onions, if desired. Serves 4-6.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 4: 772 calories (percent of calories from fat, 36), 36 grams protein, 90 grams carbohydrates, 16 grams fiber, 31 grams fat (16 grams saturated), 74 milligrams cholesterol, 1,363 milligrams sodium.

Courtesy of New Realm Brewing executive chef Megan Brent

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Read the AJC Fall Dining Guide: The Noodle Edition

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