Thanksgiving dinner is, without a doubt, a practically legendary affair, but when it comes to memorable eats Thanksgiving leftovers are quickly gaining – in both creativity and deliciousness – on the so-called “main event.” More than a few friends have confessed to cooking too much food intentionally, just so there would be enough goodies for a day-after brunch or a week’s worth of cranberry-slathered sandwiches.
We like to treat these post-Thanksgiving treats with the same reverence as other important meals, and that means scrounging up a worthy wine pairing. Here are a few of our favorites:
After-Thanksgiving Pizza with Gewurtztraminer
There’s something cool about turning one of the year’s biggest sit-down meals into something hand-held and casual. This pizza, created by Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman, tops classic dough with layers of mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese, stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, and even gravy. Chop up leftover crudité and scatter over the top to pretend you’re getting enough vegetables, or eat as is and wallow in the mouthwatering glory of layer after layer of comfort food.
The Gewurtz works well here, as it has enough richness to match the relatively heavy mouthfeel of the ingredients, but there’s also acidity and a bit of sweetness to add a much needed zip and support the sweet-and-sour addition of the cranberries.
The Recipe: After-Thanksgiving Pizza
The Wine: Trimbach Gewurtztraminer 2012, $20
Turkey Grilled Cheese with Central Coast Chardonnay
Like soup and breakfast hashes, grilled cheese sandwiches are an excellent way to breath new and tasty life into leftovers. This recipe from the Food Network’s Tyler Florence is a good starting point for your next-day grilled sammie, but don’t be afraid to switch it up: swap out the apple butter for sliced apples or cranberry chutney, use whatever sturdy bread you have on hand (fluffy white bread won’t do the trick this time), go for spinach over arugula if that’s what’s in your fridge, and if you don’t have brie leftover from the pre-game cheese plate, you can change that out too. Just bear in mind that the subtly oaked Chardonnay recommended here is particularly good for the creamy, rich texture of brie, so if you opt for a cheddar or mozzarella instead, you’ll have to change your wine pairing accordingly. Oh, and definitely use your roasted turkey instead of deli meat. Duh.
Turkey Benedict with Sparkling Rosé
Eggs Benedict is a brunch favorite, but making it at home means whipping up hollandaise, and that’s not what you want to be doing the morning after a day-long cook fest. This version from Closet Cooking uses gravy instead, cutting your prep time easily in half without sacrificing flavor. It’s easy to cook up enough to feed any lingering guests, and serving this savory stacks alongside a beautiful bubbly will make it all the more special.
The Recipe: Thanksgiving Leftovers Eggs Benedict
The Wine: Roederer Estate Brut Rosé, $28
Turkey Banh Mi with Riesling
So simple, so yummy, so easy to shove full of all your leftover bits and boobs! This version of a banh mi calls for simply grated carrots and sliced cucumbers, but you could easily give the scraps from your Thanksgiving veggie plate a quick pickle (steal the method from this great alternative recipe) for a little added zip. A dry Riesling is right on target for this scrumptious sandwich, but if you tend to be a little heavy-handed with the hot sauce you can balance that out with a slightly sweeter wine.
The Recipe: Turkey Banh Mi
Fried Stuffing Bites with Sparkling Wine
Fried food and sparkling wine are a marriage made in foodie heaven, and this surprising duo is no exception. While most people approach Thanksgiving leftovers in a full-meal frame of mind, this recipe turns stuffing, usually a mere sidekick, into a snack food worthy of the spotlight. Opting to pair it with a blanc de noirs means the bubbly will have a little more body to contend with the stuffing’s heft – especially if there are nuts or mushrooms involved – but there’s still enough effervescence to allow the cranberry dipping sauce to sing.
The Wine: Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs, $22