An “ad hoc” cassoulet, a pepper relish to go with turkey, winter squashes beautiful to look at but even better to eat, the leaves of Brussels sprouts flavored with mirepoix and pancetta, a wonderfully refreshing shredded turkey salad with mint and romaine.
These are some of the dishes that Food section staffers love to make the day after Thanksgiving, and some of them are great for Thanksgiving too (or whenever you or your guests might want a warm cornmeal muffin like Test Kitchen director Donna Deane’s, with rosemary and dried apricots, straight from the oven).
Staff writer Corie Brown says she always buys lots of winter squashes for Thanksgiving, such as carnival, delicata, kabocha, buttercup and turban, because they’re so beautiful.
“Then it’s time to make dinner and I have too much food,” she says. “I abandon the squash, using it instead as a table decoration.”
So the next day, she pops them in the oven. They’re terrific sliced, their gorgeous skins left on and roasted with butter until the edges are brown and crisp, spiced with a little ancho chile pepper and ground cumin.
The pepper relish is an Auguste Escoffier recipe meant to go with meats. “I don’t like cranberry relish,” says staff writer Charles Perry. “This irresistible cranberry-less pepper relish, from his cookbook ‘Ma Cuisine,’ goes well with turkey -- but hey, it goes with just about anything.”
Having turkey on hand turns cassoulet into an easy dish. No duck confit necessary. That’s what staff writer Amy Scattergood learned one year.
“It was easy, used up the leftovers, and all it required was a simple salad with a cider vinegar dressing to accompany it,” she says. “I ended up liking it much better than my original turkey dinner.
“One of these days I’m just going to confit my whole turkey and serve cassoulet on Thanksgiving Day instead.”
One of Food editor Leslie Brenner’s fall favorites is Brussels sprout leaves taken to another level by mirepoix and pancetta. “I fell in love with this recipe from ‘Chez Panisse Cooking’ when I came across it years ago, and I start thinking about it again every year around Thanksgiving,” she says. “It’s great hot, but wonderful too at room temp -- and great to bring to a party.”