Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Leftovers Before Thanksgiving

As much as everyone loves that giant bird, most of us have a love-hate relationship with what comes after the big meal. Oh, yes. I'm talking leftovers.

Getting a picky eater to approach leftovers can be like making seating arrangements for a Mafia wedding. Difficult and dangerous. It has to be familiar but it can't be a Xerox of the original meal. It has to be new but not too alien. It has to be all things to all people.

This week, I smoked a turkey, trying some new ideas before the big day. Naturally, that left me with piles of meat. After turkey soup, turkey and noodles, turkey sandwiches and turkey salad, even my husband, who would eat an ostrich whole given the opportunity, was starting to look slightly fearful when he asked what was for dinner. I needed something different. Something appealing to an almost-3-year-old, a guy with a big appetite for bold flavors, and, well, me.

So...okay...where's my pizza crust?

Ah. There you are. Let me tell you about this crust, first. If you go to Pittsburgh, to the Strip District, there is a magical place called the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company. PennMac to the natives. It's an Italian market that caters to restaurants and in-the-know afficianados, selling everything from gigantic sides of salt cod and every pasta under the sun to olive oil by the tanker truck and breads like these freshly made, par-baked pizza shells. They did not give me these shells. I wish they had. I love them to death. No, I paid for them. And then I did this to them.

That's my homemade cranberry sauce. It's a bag of cranberries, a couple of oranges, a chopped apple, a cup of apple cider and a cup of sugar, cooked down to a sweet, tangy jam. Do you have to do that? Of course not. Your favorite cranberry sauce is fine, whether it's from a can or a jar or the deli. Just spread a nice layer over the shell.

The turkey was next. I used chunky strips instead of sliced or diced pieces, looking for a substantial, thick layer of meat over the puckery cranberries. I used white meat, but whatever you have will be fine.

That took us to the cheese. Every pizza needs cheese, right? But what works with both the mellow smoke of the turkey and the tart jamminess of the berries? And what is special enough for a holiday meal? Brie. I peeled and diced up some slices of a mild and buttery Brie and scattered them over the turkey.

I popped it in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes, waiting for the cranberry sauce to melt into a glistening glaze, and the Brie to take on its trademark melting texture.

You see that? That's what happens when you combine the pastry-wrapped goodness of a fruit-topped Brie en croute with a good old turkey sandwich. It's perfect. Cut it into narrow strips and it's a perfect holiday appetizer for a tree-trimming party. Slice up nice wedges and you have the perfect snack for cuddling up with some sappy Christmas movies.


  1. Well, this looks delicious! I bet it would be good with some nice Vermont cheddar on their too. I love how your pizza peel says it right on there--in case you forget what to use it for....I am going to be making this for sure! Thanks for sharing....YUM

  2. I was sold when you said "brie." Slam dunk.

  3. Oh I love that! Nice tough with the brie.