Got Leftovers?

Turkey Cranberry Relish Scoop

Not in the mood for a turkey sandwich? Kim Hendrickson has the solution

Looking for light lunch fare or easy finger foods for the next gathering after Thanksgiving? Good news: sometimes leftovers are the best part of the Thanksgiving meal.  My family looks forward to turning the turkey carcass and meat scraps into delicious soup — but keep in mind that what’s usually leftover from a big holiday feast can be easily turned into bite-sized entertaining fare.  The ingredients for appetizers and hors d’oeuvres can be assembled in a smaller, creative way with a focus on intense flavor.

Take this turkey cranberry relish recipe, which I invented after a past Thanksgiving when I was surrounded by leftovers. This savory bite can be served as a before dinner hors d’oeuvre, or finger food, beautifully presented on endive leaf tips. For a great luncheon salad increase the amount of turkey and serve over a luncheon plate of mesculin greens for a quick and easy meal with friends. And best of all, if you’re like me and crave turkey and cranberry flavors more than once a year, you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving. These traditional ingredients have a new life in these festive bites for any holiday party.

Turkey Cranberry Relish Scoops

Yield: 24 scoops

1 ½ cups diced cooked turkey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ½  teaspoon dried
½  cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned, drained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
½  apple, unpeeled, cored, and cut into ½ -inch chunks
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½  orange, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
24 endive leaves
Thyme sprigs, as garnish

Toss turkey and thyme in a small bowl. Pulse remaining ingredients except endive in a food processor until pureed. (Relish can be made a few days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.) Spoon onto the base of each endive leaf, top with diced turkey, and garnish with a little more relish and a thyme sprig.

Even frozen cranberries can be hard to find, so stock up when in season. Plumped dried cranberries will also work, or raspberries. For variety, replace endive with mini bok choy, or cranberries with 1½ cups blackberries or strawberries.

Leftover turkey or roasted chicken makes a wonderful lunch dish when topped with warmed cranberry relish. The contrast of sweet meat and tart sauce is delicious. Serves 3.

Editor’s Note: Kim Hendrickson is the author of the Tastefully Small cookbook series. She has catered for the New York Metropolitan Opera, and the Penguin Rep Theatre, the Bizarre Food show and Slangman’s World. She is a regular presenter at the World Tea Expo, the John C. Campbell Folk School, and at culinary events throughout the New York area.

4 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Joan Larsen says:

    I admit it . . . I am never one to turn down a turkey sandwich on homemade grain bread. But let’s talk cranberry. . as I am addicted to it in every form. When the price is down, I buy a case of it. I still long for the day when it was easier to get the sauce out of that can without nicks on the outside slice, but I serve it year round but always – always – with parsley garnish. . as just the look of the color contrast makes it seem special. Yum – mmmmy!

    After a day of big eating, give me salads for a day or so. But it is so fun to combine surprise ingredients that add such a variety of flavors and the bit of chewy appeal. Always on hand are dried cranberries — and the author is right — as, if you are choosy, there are some brands of dried that are much more plumped up and tasty. Dried cherries are another surprisingly good choice, and Trader Joe’s has such a variety of tasty pecan pieces or sliced almonds that add to the flavor as well as that “finished” look. I love to serve the salad with croissants – small but to kill for. I guess you can add morsels of turkey meat — hadn’t thought of it but it does sounds good. Even if I am alone, I love sipping from a glass of Santa Margarita pino grigio — my escape move and a piece of heaven.

    • avatar Community Manager says:

      I’m with you Joan. I love, love, love cranberries.

      Yesterday at a club brunch, the cook-of-the-day (we rotate) had martini glasses on the center of the tables filled with fresh cranberries that had been rolled in sugar. Perfect little circles to pop in your mouth and made the table look pretty too!

      • avatar Joan Larsen says:

        Community Manager . . . from the sound of it, your brunch outdid my dinner — and if you don’t mind, I am going to use your idea at Christmas – and yes! served in stemmed glasses. Looking back — and I do now and then — I had the most beautiful childhood, one filled with the special touches that made our dinners look like magazine covers — and then some. Always — always — we chose our holiday dresses with care. . . and the exquisite dinners seemed to appear out of nowhere quite late in the day. For much earlier, the cocktail shakers were out and drinks were poured with much toasting – toasting that had such warm feeling as well — and trays of hor d’ouerves that never ended. Even though we were “family”, we seemed to be standing, moving around the room, going from one group to another. Everyone was filled with laughing and good times, not an argument in sight. As I think about it, these were occasions of camaraderie — but more than that, there were visible sparks of love flying everywhere. Oh, to be able to bring that back — but I will start with the sugar-crusted martini glasses filled with cranberries to set the scene. Love the idea, CM!