Chefs dish on creative ways to reinvent Thanksgiving leftovers

Saturday, November 28, 2015
Chefs dish on creative ways to reinvent Thanksgiving leftovers
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Beyond the turkey sandwich, Southern California chefs make magic with holiday leftovers.

MALIBU (KABC) -- Some may like Thanksgiving leftovers, but Southern California chefs believe in making magic with holiday extras.

Chef Steven Fretz says soup is a great go-to.

"A soup is a really simple way. It's hearty but its also quite lean at the same time," said Fretz of The Church Key.

Leftover onion, carrot and pumpkin sauteed then blended is a perfect mix. Then, add smokey paprika, spiced turkey chorizo, bean and pumpkin seeds for texture.

Fretz and others want a change from Thanksgiving spices.

"How much more sage and cinnamon can you stuff into your body?" asked Pete Servold of Pete's Paleo.

Paleo fan Servold takes leftover turkey, onions, veggies and Southwest spices for hash that you top with fried egg, avocado and pico de gallo.

While Paleo Cookbook author Caroline Potter makes a salad with pears, hazelnuts and turkey, plus, she adds toasted crispy prosciutto in lieu of croutons.

We love all the warm comfort food that this holiday brings but after that massive meal, it's nice to have that turkey and trimmings talk to you a little bit.

Salad is great for those interested in something on the lighter side.

"Create a salad with the key leftovers which are turkey, squash and cranberry sauce," said Chef Megan Logan of Cafe Pinot.

Logan takes overly abundant cranberry sauce and makes a dressing to top kale, turkey, pomegranate, shaved fennel, roasted squash and cayenne chili spiced pumpkin seeds, with a goat cheese option.

Fig & Olive's Chef Wilfed Hocq made turkey Nicoise out of the pages of their new cookbook. Swapping tuna for turkey and mixing the anchovies.

"We have no rules in the south of France to do the salad. It's just the freshness, the things you can find at the market," said Hocq.

There are also tips to reinvent the holiday pie.

"Take a little ice cream scooper and scoop out the filling and put it on top of our gluten free vegan cookie bites," said Sasha Crescentini of Bakeology.

Finally, nobody likes wasting, but dietitian Patricia Bannan suggests this: "If it's not your favorite and its high in calories, get rid of it. Give it away," said Bannan.


Leftover Turkey Pumpkin Soup with Chorizo, Cannellini Beans, and Pumpkin Seeds
Chef Steven Fretz - The Church Key

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serves 4


1 tbsp olive oil

4 oz Chorizo Chopped Fine

# Thanksgiving turkey, Medium diced

2 small brown onions, coarsely diced

2 pounds pumpkin, skin removed, seeded, cut into 2 inch chunks

1 medium carrot, peeled, coarsely diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 each dried bay leaf

3/4 tsp smoked paprika

3/4 tsp ground cumin seeds

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed

6 cups water

cup cream

cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling


1. Heat a large heavy based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, chorizo and turkey and cook, stirring, for about 2-3 minutes, or until crisp on the outside. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chorizo to a plate and set aside.

2. Add the onions then pumpkin and carrot, and garlic to the same pan and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions and pumpkin begin to soften. Add the garlic, bay leaf, smoked paprika and cumin and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until the pumpkin begins to caramelize.

3. Add the vinegar and cup of the beans. Cover with the water, Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for about 20-25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. Add the cream and bring back to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Discard the bay leaf.

4. Working in batches, blend the soup in a blender until smooth. Pour batches back into the saucepan to re-heat. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

5. Ladle the soup into four bowls. Top with the remaining beans, cooked chorizo, and the pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, and enjoy with the fresh bread.

Gracias por Thanksgiving by Steve Servold, Pete's Paleo

(serves 4)

lb Leftover turkey, small dice

lb bacon, small dice

1 onion small diced

1 bell pepper, small diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tomato, small diced

1 avocado

tsp cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

3 T scallions, sliced

2 T olive oil

8 eggs

Render out bacon in large saut pan until mostly crispy and it has released most of its fat, add onions and bell pepper with a pinch of salt. Saute on high, until you get nice charred color from veggies. Add chopped turkey, diced tomato, cumin and pinch of salt and pepper.

Let saut for 3-5 minutes and heat up olive oil in non stick pan. Fry eggs two at a time, as desired. I'm a big fan of over medium or over easy so you can use the yolk as a sauce. Top turkey hash with sliced avocado and sliced chives.

FALL CHOP SALAD WITH HERB ROASTED TURKEY, PEARS AND PROSCIUTTO - Recipe from All American Paleo Table by Caroline Potter


1 large sweet potato + olive oil, s & p for roasting

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

2 lbs skin-on chicken thighs* (OR TURKEY)

1 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

8 slices prosciutto

1 pear, thinly sliced

1 head romaine or butter leaf lettuce

1/2 cup hazelnuts (sunflower seeds for nut free)

*Substitute with any Thanksgiving turkey leftovers!


1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 large cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and warm a large skillet to medium heat drizzling in one tablespoon of olive oil.

Chop the sweet potatoes into small cubes, drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels, coat the chicken with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Sear the chicken, skin-side down, in the skillet for 4 minutes. Place in a roasting dish, drizzling all the juices on top. Sprinkle the fresh herbs on top. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Prepare the salad dressing by mixing together all ingredients and set aside.

Just a few minutes before your sweet potatoes and chicken are done roasting, tear the prosciutto into small pieces and place on a parchment line baking sheet. Bake for 4-5 minutes or until crispy, watching carefully so it does not burn.

Allow the chicken and sweet potatoes to cool for several minutes before assembling, tossing and serving!