(Nov. 27, 2020) Thanksgiving is over and Americans are literally stuffed.
However, there are those who profess the best is yet to come.
Thanksgiving is the most popular feast of the year, and is without a doubt a smorgasbord of fabulous flavors.
On the other hand, the thought of getting comfortable and pigging out on leftovers is comforting indeed.
The key is to take leftovers and construct a completely different meal. This way, our taste buds are literally salivating and anticipating new dishes.
Following are a few ideas that will delight those who adore the sport of eating.
If one has leftover rolls, consider our feathered friends. At this time of the year, bread crumbs will be greatly appreciated.
But if soup tickles your fancy, consider pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread soup).
The recipe follows: sauté 1 small sweet chopped onion and 4 cloves of minced garlic in a large pot with 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add 2 (28 ounces) of canned crushed tomatoes, 1 cup of dry white wine, 2 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes, a few pinches of crushed red pepper flakes, 3 teaspoons of dried basil, kosher salt to taste, a few pinches of baking soda, and 2 cups of day-old bread.
Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook covered for 30 minutes.
Taste the soup and adjust seasonings if necessary. Garnish with fresh basil and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Note – The baking soda helps reduce the acidity of the tomatoes. All you need are a few pinches; otherwise, the tomato soup will develop a bitter aftertaste.
Stuffing does not get the notoriety it deserves. Turkey and stuffing are a notorious pairing but how about a grilled pork loin stuffed with the famous filling.
Simply take your leftover stuffing and spruce it up a bit. For instance, toasted pecans, chopped apples and dried cranberries takes your Thanksgiving stuffing to another level. Be creative and adjust the stuffing according to your personal taste.
Stuffing a pork loin does not only add flavor but makes a stunning presentation. That being said, there a few different ways to stuff a pork loin.
The easiest option is to cut the cylinder of meat lengthwise so it opens like a book, add the stuffing, and close it up.
Another way is making a hole in the middle of the loin, creating a sort of tube and fill the tube with the stuffing.
Spiral cuts are the most impressive and are the best option to showcase the meat along with the stuffing.
It is imperative to have a sharp knife and preferably one that is the actual length of the pork loin.
Since you will be pounding out the meat, it is advisable to brine the pork. The brining process makes the meat easier to work with.
Place the pork loin fat side down on a cutting board perpendicular to you. If you are right-handed, place your left hand on top of the meat.
Apply a little pressure as you cut an inch into the entire right side of the pork loin, about ½-inch from the base of the meat.
Keep cutting and pulling the top section of the pork back until the entire pork loin is open and flat. The thinner you slice the pork, the more spirals you will achieve.
Unless your knife skills are superb, there will be sections where the meat is thicker than other places. Pound out the meat until it has an even surface. Also, trim the borders of the pork loin so you have an even rectangular shape. Save the scraps for stock.
Place the stuffing, leaving a ½-inch border over the entire surface of the pork. Carefully roll the pork and tie it so it does not come undone.
You can bake the meat in the oven, but the cooking method will be similar to the turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Grilling the pork loin achieves a completely different taste and texture. Grilling time varies according to the weight and thickness of the rolled pork loin.
A pork loin that weighs five pounds will need about 30 minutes of cooking time.
Place the pork loin on a very hot charcoal grill and obtain a nice sear on all sides. Then transfer it to a gas grill and cook it on high for 20 minutes, 10 minutes on each side. The pork will take less time to cook because it is stuffed and not a solid piece of meat.
You can cook the pork loin on a charcoal or gas grill. I like to start it on a charcoal grill to develop that distinct flavor and seared crust. Then, I transfer it to a gas grill because I feel it cooks more evenly.
As always, the choice is up to the individual chef.
Pumpkin pie is a tradition at Thanksgiving. If one has little ones that are on the picky side, consider pumpkin pie donut holes.
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, ¾ cup sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together 1 ¼ cup leftover pumpkin pie filling, 1 large egg, and 2 tablespoons melted butter.
Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and stir together until fully incorporated. You can adjust the seasoning of the donut batter by adding a touch of dried cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger.
Heat canola oil to a temperature of 325 degrees. While the oil is heating, use your hands to shape the dough into balls.
Fry the balls until golden brown. Place them on a cooling rack, and while they are still hot, gently toss in powdered sugar.
In closing, eating leftovers is an American custom. By deconstructing your Thanksgiving meal and creating new ideas, your leftovers will be even a bigger hit. Enjoy!
Secret Ingredient – Reuse. “Uncommon thinkers reuse what common thinkers refuse.”
– J.R.D Tata