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Saturday, December 2, 2023
Dec. 2, 2023

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Make Thanksgiving leftovers just as show-stopping as holiday


For many, deciding what to make with any leftover Thanksgiving turkey is as simple as grabbing two slices of white bread and a jar of mayo.

Others prefer to toss the roasted meat with noodles, mushrooms and cheese in a creamy casserole such as tetrazzini or tuck it into a golden pastry crust in a scrumptious pot pie. My family’s personal favorite is an old-fashioned a la king recipe I found years ago in Betty Crocker’s Big Red cookbook and make with cubes of diced turkey instead of the more classic chicken. It’s served over homemade biscuits.

But what if you want Round Two to be as show-stopping as your holiday meal? I say: Consider an open-faced, meal-on-a-plate Turkey Devonshire.

Crafted with cooked turkey slices, chopped or sliced tomato and crispy bacon in a decadent, bubbling cheese sauce, Turkey Devonshire is a Pittsburgh classic. It was created in 1934 at the Stratford Club in Millvale by a Sicilian-American chef named Frank Blandi, who dubbed the knife-and-fork sandwich “Devonshire” after a tony street in Shadyside because it sounded English.

My colleague and Turkey Devonshire fanatic Hal B. Klein makes his sauce by adding a blend of Gruyere and cheddar cheese to gravy built on turkey drippings, chicken stock, white wine and Dijon mustard. The additional components, he says, enhances the flavor and also makes what can be a heavy dish a little lighter.

I stink at making gravy, though, so I went a more traditional route with a recipe from Union Grill that ran in Belt Magazine. It features a sauce of heavy cream, cheddar, Swiss and provolone cheeses, along with grated Parmesan.

The recipe makes enough sauce for at least three or four sandwiches. Be sure to add the bacon after you stick the sandwich under the broiler to brown or it will burn. I used individual-sized casserole dishes.

Turkey Devonshire

Makes 2 open-faced sandwiches. Adapted from Beltmag.com

For sauce:

1 pint heavy whipping cream

2 ounces cheddar cheese

2 ounces Swiss cheese

2 ounces provolone cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

For sandwich:

8 ounces leftover roasted turkey, sliced

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

2 thick slices of hearty bread, toasted

6 slices of cooked, crispy bacon

Prepare sauce: In a heavy sauce pot, bring heavy cream to bubbling over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and add cheddar, Swiss and provolone cheeses. Whisk until smooth, and cheese is completely melted and incorporated.

Add Parmesan, and whisk until smooth, then remove from heat (sauce will thicken as it slightly cools). Add pepper to taste. (This recipe will make enough sauce for several sandwiches.)

Assemble sandwiches: Place each slice of toast in a casserole dish or shallow baking pan. Layer each evenly with turkey, then top with diced tomato. Spoon sauce on top, then place in oven on the broiler setting until the sandwich is browned and bubbly.

Top each with 3 strips of bacon, and serve with a knife and fork.

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