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Friday, July 19, 2024

Transforming Thanksgiving Leftovers: A Hand-Held Pielike Delight

Discovering a new way to savor your Thanksgiving leftovers, it turns out that if the flavors complement each other on your Thanksgiving plate, they’ll meld beautifully when wrapped in store-bought pizza dough and baked into a pocket. This creative culinary venture results in a hand-held treat resembling a fusion between a calzone and those beloved Costco chicken bakes. The magic unfolds as the various elements of the Thanksgiving feast steam together inside the pizza dough, allowing their distinct flavors to mingle and create a delightful medley.

The beauty of this leftover transformation lies in its versatility. Your turkey bakes will be uniquely filled based on your Thanksgiving spread. Whether you enjoyed stuffing, roasted sweet potatoes, turkey, and cranberry sauce like the author or have a surplus of green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, or squash, the possibilities are endless. The key is moderation—just one cup of filling is ideal to prevent overstuffing and ensure the perfect balance of flavors.

For those who can’t resist adding a touch of gravy to their leftovers, the recipe welcomes this savory addition. If your gravy has a thicker consistency in the fridge, consider spreading it inside the pockets before wrapping. Alternatively, mix a few tablespoons of gravy with an equal amount of heavy cream and brush the mixture over the pockets before baking. If your gravy tends to be on the looser side when refrigerated, it’s recommended to omit it from the filling to prevent the dough from becoming soggy as it bakes, reserving it instead for a delectable dipping sauce.

The recipe has been put to the test with various types of dough: homemade, store-bought traditional pizza dough, and canned pizza dough. Each option yields satisfactory results, though the consensus is that homemade or store-bought dough provides the best texture and flavor. Whether you prefer the convenience of pre-packaged dough or enjoy the process of crafting your own, the end result promises a delightful and comforting post-Thanksgiving treat.

One of the appealing aspects of this leftover transformation is that it doubles as a creative morning-after Thanksgiving activity. Encourage kids or even the grown-ups to curate their own pocket masterpieces, selecting fillings from the available leftovers. However, a crucial piece of advice is not to overlook the layer of cheese, which plays a pivotal role in the culinary alchemy. As it bakes, the cheese becomes salty and golden, providing a delightful contrast to the sweetness of cranberry sauce, should you choose to include it.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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