I’m a huge fan of leftovers. It’s nice coming home to a no-hassle meal you can heat up and just eat. And of course, with all the big family meals we imbibe during the holidays, leftovers take over our lives. How much turkey will there be sitting in your fridge after Thanksgiving dinner? But eating the same turkey sandwich or bowl of mac and cheese soon gets boring. That’s the problem with leftovers, isn’t it? You know you have food at home, but are you really in the mood for the same thing again? Luckily, with a little bit of work, you can transform your Thanksgiving leftovers into a delicious new meal.
Soups are a great way to reduce food waste, are perfect for the winter season and easy to make. Utilizing leftover turkey and Thanksgiving sides — yes, even the green bean casserole and dressing! — this chowder is a creamy, hearty belly-warmer, reminiscent of the season but still far from the classic meal. Top with croutons made from leftover dressing for a nice crunch.
Thanksgiving Leftovers Chowder
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: 6 servings
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
- 2 tablespoons Italian herbs
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup corn (leftover corn, frozen or canned — drain the corn if you use canned)
- 2 cups shredded or chopped leftover turkey
- 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
- 1 cup leftover Brussels sprouts, chopped (see notes for other fun ways to use side dishes in this chowder)
- In a large, heavy pot (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat, add butter, onions and seasonings.
- Sauté in pan for 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Reduce to a lower heat, occasionally stirring, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, heavy cream, garlic, corn and turkey, bring to a boil and let boil for 8 minutes. Then turn the heat down where the soup is simmering. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add mashed potatoes, stir until they are combined, add sprouts (or other leftover side dishes — see notes below).
- Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
- Serve, snuggle up in a warm hoodie and eat!
NOTE: Have other sides you’d like to incorporate into this chowder? Here’s how to use them.
Green bean casserole: Use 1 cup. Chop green beans so it’s easier to eat. Use ½ cup less heavy cream. The cream of mushroom in the casserole will give you some moisture.
Dressing/stuffing: I recommend using this as a crunchy bread-y garnish to the chowder. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add your dressing in bite-size pieces. Cook for 15 minutes on second-from-the-bottom rack. Sprinkle over the soup at the end as you would do with croutons.
Carrots: If not already in smaller pieces, cut them accordingly. Add them before the final 15 minutes of cooking.