Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Gyros. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Turn leftover Thanksgiving turkey into a gyro with this recipe

The day after Thanksgiving, I’m all for piling a plate full of leftovers, letting everything mush together, and enjoying another rib-sticking meal. The day after that? I’m ready for something different.

Sure, there are folks who claim to enjoy eating meal after meal of leftovers, sometimes slapping it all between two slices of bread, but let’s be real — it gets a little tiring. Come Saturday, it’s time to get creative.

A sandwich is still a fine way to make use of leftover turkey. Instead of topping it with more gravy, though, it’s better to give it more zip. Piled high on warm flatbread, topped with a lemony, herby tahini sauce, even two-day-old turkey breast gets a chance to shine. (Use thick-sliced deli turkey if your family managed to gobble up the whole bird in one sitting.)

The only real trick here is to be particular with how that turkey is reheated. First, infuse olive oil with lemon zest and fresh oregano. (It sounds complicated, but all you’re doing here is cooking the aromatics until they sizzle.) Remove them from the oil, add shredded or sliced turkey, toss to coat, and then throw in a bit of water and let it steam over medium-low heat until hot. It’ll only take a few minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together tahini, lemon juice, water, and a bit more oregano to make a sauce. Pull out whatever leftover onions and greenery you’ve got in the fridge to use for toppings and arrange it on a plate. Toast flatbread or pita in the oven just until warm.

Beyond that, it’s all assembly: Scoop the turkey onto the warm bread, drizzle with sauce, garnish with toppings, and then do your best to wrap everything up into a neat foil wrapper. It won’t even taste like Thanksgiving — and that’s a good thing.

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Gyros. CONTRIBUTED BY HENRI HOLLIS
Photo: For the AJC
Recipe: Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Gyros
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for the turkey
  • 5 sprigs fresh oregano, plus 1/2 teaspoon chopped
  • 2 lemons, zest peeled into strips and lemons halved and juiced
  • 1 pound leftover turkey or thick-sliced deli turkey, sliced 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick and then cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
  • Water, for the turkey and the sauce
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 flatbreads or pita breads
  • On the side: Toppings such as onion, cucumber and arugula
  • Coat the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with a generous amount of olive oil. Add the oregano sprigs and lemon peel, and place over medium-high heat. Cook until the oregano begins to sizzle and the oil smells aromatic, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the herbs and lemon peel from the oil, then add the turkey and 1/4 cup water. Stir, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let steam until the turkey is hot, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking together the tahini, lemon juice, chopped oregano and 1/4 cup more water. If the sauce is too thick to drizzle, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thinned to desired consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a broiler or toaster oven to high. Place the flat bread directly on the rack and toast until warm.
  • Divide the turkey between the flat breads and top with the sauce and the toppings of your choice. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 623 calories (percent of calories from fat, 49), 37 grams protein, 43 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 35 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 69 milligrams cholesterol, 688 milligrams sodium.

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