Thanksgiving Leftovers Experiment, Day 4

Day 4, and I belive I have developed the perfect hot turkey sandwich. Over the last four days, I’ve conducted a series of experiments to determine the proper order, layers and ratio of turkey, dressing, potatoes, cranberry, vegetables and gravy in the classic Thanksgiving leftovers open-face sandwich..

Key learnings:

  • The base-layer bread should be toasted to provide a different texture from the stuffing.
  • If using dark meat or a part of the turkey that doesn’t lend itself to thin slices, chop the turkey in to 1/3 of an inch chunks otherwise the sandwich will fall apart when you try to cut or bit through a big piece of turkey.
  • Do not apply cranberry sauce directly to the sandwich, instead use it as a side relish. If applied directly to the sandwich it liquefies as it heats and saturates everything, overpowering the other flavors. The alternative, is to mix a very small amount of cranberry with mayonnaise and apply the cranberry mayonnaise to the bread.
  • Order of ingredients is critical. The order ensures proper texture and flavor variation.

The optimal sandwich ingredients in order:

  1. one piece of toasted sandwich sliced sourdough bread
  2. thin layer of cranberry mayonnaise
  3. blend of light and dark meat, thinly sliced or chopped
  4. thin layer of stuffing gently pressed down on to the turkey
  5. lettuce leaf to separate the stuffing from the potatoes and provide just the slightest crunch
  6. scoop of mash potatoes
  7. a few green beans of brussel sprout halves sprinkled over the top
  8. a generous portion of gravy, enough to lightly cover the entire sandwich with some spillover to the plate

Heating:

I examined three heating options. The classic, throw it all into the microwave method, resulted in loss of textural integrity of the bread with some mushy parts and some unpleasant chewy parts. I also tried heating all of the components separately, but it was time-consuming and I failed to achieve the synergy desired. The best option was to assemble all of the ingredients except the bread on a plate, microwave them to the desired temperature then with a spatula lift the hot ingredients, and slide the toasted bread with cranberry mayonaise under the tower of turkey, dressing and potatoes.  This method resulted in the best texture and blending of flavors and just enough gravy under the bread to help flavor it without becoming soggy.

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