The best thing about cooking, besides getting to enjoy the final product if it has been successfully made, is enjoying the leftovers. I’ll give you one example: Thanksgiving Day Leftovers. I don’t know if this applies to everyone, but from my experience, Thanksgiving Day leftovers gathering is almost as important as the meal on Thanksgiving Day. If you have a big family that live relatively close to each other, than you know how important it is to try and see everyone the day of, or at least the day after, Thanksgiving. Growing up with family members that work in the fire and police department, it was never easy to get everyone together on the same day for the same meal and so Thanksgiving Day leftovers became sort of like the alternative to Thanksgiving Day. If you weren’t with us on the actual holiday, you better believe you needed to stop by the day after for leftovers. My favorite thing to make/eat for the Thanksgiving Day leftover gathering is when you get turkey leftover from the bird the day before and combine it with the leftover stuffing into a sandwich roll, making it the perfect “Thanksgiving Day Sandwich.” It’s June and I’ve got a craving for the Thanksgiving Day essentials. Awesome.
Anyways, like I was saying, a combination of leftovers from the fridge can usually turn into a really great new meal. Take for example today. Last night I made home-made meatballs. The way that I make them usually gives me about 20 ish, slightly smaller than a golf ball sized, meatballs. Yesterday I was also on more of a healthy kick so I used lean turkey instead of beef . So today, after walking in the door after being at school for a couple of hours, I decided that I wanted to enjoy some of my leftovers for a little late lunch. I give you, the Turkey Meatball Sandwich with Goat Cheese, Carmelized Onion and Wilted Spinach.
Ha! I bet you weren’t expecting that now were you? Yeah. I know. Look at me all creative. Any who, I sliced a quarter of an onion that I actually had leftover from making the meatballs and slowly cooked it on medium low heat with olive oil and salt and pepper until the onion was no longer white and was beginning to turn more translucent. I guess I didn’t really let them get to “carmelized” but you should; it will probably make this sandwich taste even better! Then, I poured a little red wine in the pan. Yeah, you heard me correctly. I had some shiraz-grenache from Yellowtail that I opened yesterday. Have you seen those sort of, but not really, funny wine/cooking signs that take up space at Bed, Bath and Beyond. You know, like the one that says, “I cook with wine. Sometimes, I even put it in the food.” Usually I never add wine to food that I’m cooking. Unless we’re talking about braciole in which case you have to, but under any other circumstances, I try to reconsider. For one, if you add wine to food that you are cooking, you are cooking out the alcohol. Why would I voluntarily do such a thing? Anyways today I decided to mix things up so stir the wine and onions constantly until the alcohol smell vanishes. Then I spooned in a little grey poupon mustard and drizzled a little bit of honey and continued stirring the onions constantly for a few more minutes. The honey and mustard thing I picked up from another sandwich recipe and I thought, why not… this kind of sounds good. Then, I added the fresh spinach. I like spinach, some people don’t. You don’t need to tell me that you didn’t use spinach. My feelings will not be hurt. Popeye’s might be but that’s a topic for another time and another blog. Anyways, if you decide to not break Popeye’s heart, this is when you would add some fresh spinach and stir everything together until the spinach is wilted. I chose to heat up some of the meatballs in the microwave because I forgot about them up until I was about to plate the sandwich, but you would add the leftover meatballs at the same time as you add the spinach. You want the flavors to start combining as soon as possible. Meanwhile while the spinach was wilting in the pan, I toasted some sandwich buns in the oven with some goat cheese crumbles I had leftover from some crostinis I made a few weeks ago on top. I had the sandwich buns with the goat cheese in the oven at 350 for 3 1/2 minutes. Place the meatballs on the bun first, drop the spinach/onion mixture on top and cover with the remaining sandwich bun. It’s sweet. It’s tangy. The turkey isn’t dry. All in all, as far as leftovers go, I consider this a success.