I’ve never been one to understand the appeal of transforming leftovers. Half the point of eating leftovers is saving yourself the work of cooking something new, and particularly after cooking a huge meal like Thanksgiving dinner, I usually don’t want to turn around the next day and bake leftover casseroles or frittatas—a plate reheated in the microwave does just fine, provided there is enough gravy to go around, of course. But after a few days, we ran out of pretty much everything except turkey and stuffing, so it was time to look into options.
If I am going to go to the trouble of revamping leftovers, I want to make it taste completely different, so I gravitated toward Asian flavors for last night’s iteration. What you see here is turkey pho with turkey eggrolls. Soup is always a perfect use for leftover turkey, but it isn’t Jeremy’s favorite, and I thought the Vietnamese spin might catch his attention. Besides, I ended up with over a gallon of beautiful gelled turkey stock, a quart of which was waiting patiently in the refrigerator to be used up, and pho seems to be all about the broth.
While that velvety turkey stock infused itself with the flavors of aromatic toasted spices and slices of dried ginger, I prepared the rest of the soup ingredients: shreds of turkey, chiffonade of radish greens, and some very thinly sliced onion and radish artfully arranged in the bottom of our soup bowls. The rice noodles took just a matter of minutes to soften up in the stock, and the raw vegetables gave up just enough of their edge once the hot soup was ladled over them. Coming together artfully in the last moment, this dish was comforting, nutritious, and utterly different from the plates of turkey we’ve been eating for the past few days.
I didn’t think the pho would be quite enough to fill us up, so I decided to make some eggrolls to accompany them, a first in my kitchen. As you might expect from me, I made the eggroll wrappers from scratch; the dough was nearly identical to my recipe for wonton skins, and called for an egg white, which I fortunately had on hand after using some yolks for chanterelle soup. My filling was thrown together without a recipe, and was just a mixture of vegetables—onion, garlic, ginger, carrot, Chinese cabbage, and cremini mushroom—with the turkey and some Asian flavorings like tamari and sesame oil.
Somehow rolling eggrolls is not quite as onerous a task as making potstickers, perhaps because they are larger or just less fussy. Using freshly made wrappers also helps, since the dough was just tacky enough not to require water or egg wash to seal the edges. They fried up golden brown in a matter of minutes, and were very tasty. My only complaint was that I should probably have been more generous on the filling, as some of the smaller eggrolls seemed to be mostly wrapper.