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3V Chefs Weigh In: 5 Ways to Use Thanksgiving Leftovers

Local restaurant owners and chefs tell-all about their favorite uses for leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and more.

To bring new life to your Thanksgiving leftovers, Patch spoke with local chefs and restaurant owners about how they spice up the typical leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy. Here are suggestions from the minds behind five Three Village eateries:

Turkey Sandwiches: Ben Saraydarian, owner of , is a fan of easy, open-faced turkey sandwiches.  “I like to play it simple.  My idea of the best turkey sandwich would have the turkey, stuffing, and gravy right on top, and you could just go to town.”  He recommends using an Italian roll, sourdough bread, or rye as the best bread to compliment the combination of leftovers.

Chicken Salad and Cranberry Sauce Wrap: Though cranberry sauce may be a neglected item at the table, owner Constantinos Drepaniocis sees it as a great addition to a meal.  He recommends mixing a little bit of the leftover sauce with chicken salad and serving it on a wrap, roll, bagel, or any type of bread.  “It sounds odd, but it is phenomenal,” says Drepaniocis.  Setauket Village Diner will be serving up Thanksgiving dinners with a side of sweet potato fries all week.

Sweet and Savory Brown Rice:  owners Loretta and Jimmy Vertucci suggest using leftover cranberry sauce made from whole cranberries or even leftover craisins in this unique dish.  Dice half of a large sweet Vidalia onion and sauté it in a pan with at least two tablespoons of canola oil or extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Then, add half a cup of the cranberry sauce made from whole cranberries, or a cup of craisins to the onions.  If you choose to add cranberry sauce, the Vertuccis recommend adding chicken or turkey stock to keep the sauce from burning.  Simmer the mixture until it thins, and then add two cups of cooked brown rice.  Stir the mixture continuously to keep the rice from sticking to the pan, and serve once it is thoroughly combined.  “Sometimes it is hard to get kids to eat cranberries,” comments Loretta Vertucci, “but my kids love this, and it is so healthy.”

Turkey Salad: Leftover turkey and fresh cranberries from Thanksgiving can be reinvigorated as a turkey salad in a unique recipe by Scott Koppelman, owner of .  Chop light and dark turkey together, and add mayonnaise and a little bit of mustard. Then, toss in fresh cranberries and shelled pistachios.  Add a dash of salt and pepper, and serve over a salad or on a sandwich.  Koppelman also suggests making a turkey sandwich with a slice of fresh mango and sweet mayonnaise on focaccia bread.

Thanksgiving Wrap:  Scott Miller, owner of the , suggests putting all of your leftovers together in a wrap.  Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy can call by rolled up in a flour tortilla wrap and grilled.  “You can even put in vegetables, and everything that you have.  It’s delicious,” comments Miller.

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