There is always turkey bone gumbo in my life the day after Thanksgiving. It feels like a new dish, unlike typical leftovers. If we want to make the food feel like a new dish, we actually have a lot of possibilities with Thanksgiving leftovers.

I recently visited Louisville, Kentucky, and was very taken with the Hot Brown. It’s an open-faced sandwich meant to be eaten with a fork and knife. It was served after nightly dinner dances at the Brown Hotel in the 1920s.

Since most people didn’t have turkey to put on a sandwich just lying around, having turkey out of Thanksgiving season was a real treat. So in the spirit of making this as special as the Brown Hotel does, we are even going to make the traditional Mornay sauce for it. You will turn leftovers into a treat.

And what else? Rebake your baked sweet potatoes with cheese. The sweetness really comes through when paired with cheese. They will taste and look like a totally new dish.

Finally, I like to stuff vegetables with the leftover dressing. Since baked tomatoes are not traditional on the Thanksgiving table, they are often welcome when we are making over dinner.

Baked stuffed tomatoes can take advantage of a delicious stuffing, especially if you have added extras to it like oysters. It doesn’t matter whether it is cornbread based or French bread based. Both will be delicious.

And because it’s Thanksgiving, I am sure that you have leftover dessert. No one will mind another slice of pie.

Hot Brown Po-Boy

Makes 2 po-boys or open-faced sandwiches.


2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

? cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus a bit more for garnish

? teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt the butter in a pot and add the flour. Cook the flour while stirring with a wooden spoon about 2 minutes to take away the raw flour taste from the roux. Add the cream and milk. Stir well with a whisk.

2. Heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pot. Add the cheese and whisk again. Add the nutmeg and salt and pepper. Remove from heat.


Makes two sandwiches.

Heat the broiler.?

2 6-inch pieces of fresh French bread, cut in half po-boy style

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

8 ounces cooked turkey meat (dark or light, or a combination)

2 cups Mornay sauce

2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese for topping

2 Roma tomatoes, each sliced in half through the stem (this is optional, but traditional)

4 slices of bacon, cooked to crispy

Smoked paprika and chopped parsley for garnish

1. Place the two bottom pieces of bread on a baking sheet. Spread half of the mayonnaise on each bottom piece of bread. Top each piece of bread with half the turkey meat.

2. Next, top each sandwich with half the Mornay sauce, followed by the grated Pecorino Romano.

3. Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the broiler until the cheese begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat. Divide the two sandwiches between two plates. Flank each sandwich with the two halves of the tomatoes. Top each sandwich with two slices of bacon. Garnish with paprika and parsley, Add the top of the bread. (Let people decide whether to eat their sandwich po-boy style or with a knife and fork.

5. Place hot sauce on the table.


Liz Williams makes twice baked sweet potatoes at home in Meraux on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. (Photo by Chris Granger, The Times-Picayune)

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Makes 4 servings.?

Preheat oven to 325 F.

4 halves of baked sweet potatoes in their jackets

4 ounces softened goat cheese

2 tablespoons softened butter

? teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. With a spoon, scoop the cooked sweet potato out of the jacket into a bowl, being careful to leave enough sweet potato to give some structure to the sweet potato boat.

2. Add the goat cheese, butter, salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix very well with a potato masher until the mixture is uniform.

3. Divide the mixture among the 4 potato boats. Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Serve hot.


Liz Williams makes stuffed tomatoes at home in Meraux on Wednesday, November 15, 2023. (Photo by Chris Granger, The Times-Picayune)

Stuffed Tomatoes

Makes 4 servings.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

4 medium tomatoes

1 teaspoon salt

4 cups leftover stuffing or dressing

? cup grated cheese

1. Cut the stem end off the tomato and empty the tomato of its insides so that it can take the stuffing. Reserve the tomato insides for another use. Salt the inside of each tomato. Then stuff the tomato with the leftover stuffing and mound it up over the top of the tomato. Place in a covered oven proof dish.

2. Place in the oven, covered, for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how soft you like your stuffed tomato to be.

3. When ready, remove the lid. If the stuffing is cornbread based, sprinkle grated cheddar cheese on top. If the stuffing is French bread based, sprinkle with Parmesan. Place in the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

4. Remove from oven and serve.?

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Liz Williams is founder of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans. Listen to "Tip of the Tongue," Liz's podcast about food, drink and culture, wherever you hear podcasts.