Holiday Dinner The Day After

Chef Dave Lieberman shares his recommendations for quick and easy holiday leftover recipes. Lieberman, who hosts America's Heartland on PBS and Good Deal with Dave Lieberman on the Food Network, tells NPR's Liane Hansen that a soup or sandwich is always a good second-day use for turkey. But you can also, take those mashed potatoes and make pancakes with toppings or use your cranberry sauce with the pan drippings to make a sauce.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

Many a brunch today will include foods you've already been served over Christmas. Yes, folks, on Boxing Day, we eat leftovers. And if turkey tetrazzini is the only dish that comes to mind, here to help transform the contents of your refrigerated containers is Chef Dave Lieberman. His latest book is "The 10 Things You Need to Eat." Welcome to the program.

Mr. DAVE LIEBERMAN (Chef, Author, "The 10 Things You Need to Eat"): Thanks, Liane.

HANSEN: Let's start with the main Christmas dinner. Most people have turkey, spiral ham, maybe a roast - I mean, the meat eaters, anyway. Give us some ideas about a quick and creative next day meal, and I guess it could be a sandwich.

Mr. LIEBERMAN: Well, the creative part of the sandwich making comes in with sort of the sauces that you choose to put on the sandwich. So, you know, people obviously like mustard and mayonnaise, which is great. You can also throw in, if you have cranberry sauce left over, anything that's kind of sweet and tangy, you can mix that in with mayonnaise and it kind of adds something special and unique.

And you can also try adding spices and herbs to the mayonnaise. And, you know, there's a fancy word for that. It's called aioli. It's a little bit different, has a little bit more egg yolk in it, but basically you're making your own fancy aioli with just a little bit of mayonnaise and whatever you have in the spice cabinet.

HANSEN: What about if we're not in the mood for a sandwich?

Mr. LIEBERMAN: One thing that I always do when I make turkey - and I kind of learned this from my dad. He always takes the carcass and sort of a little bit of the drippings and puts into a pot with fresh vegetable and creates a really rich, delicious soup that is - you know, you add rice to it or you add noodles to it and that is a really nice sort of lighter way to go for an evening meal after a big holiday dinner the following, you know, or the previous day, I should say.

HANSEN: I've always found that one of the more difficult things for leftovers, mashed potatoes. What can you do with them than heat them back up again?

Mr. LIEBERMAN: A couple things you can do, but one of my favorite is actually to make mashed potato pancakes and then top them with various things. So, basically all you have to do is take your mashed potato and divvy them up into little balls, pat them out, heat a little bit of oil in a pan and you fry those and then you could have that with - you kind of treat it like a potato latke, you know, which is sort of a Hanukah thing. And you put, you know, sour cream or smoked salmon, really whatever you like, on top of it. But it's, you know, something different.

HANSEN: What can you do with leftover cranberry sauce?

Mr. LIEBERMAN: Well, I talked about mixing cranberry sauce into mayonnaise for a sandwich.

HANSEN: Right.

Mr. LIEBERMAN: Additionally, you can add it to the pan after you cook a piece of steak or a piece of any other meat, a game, in particular. You can make a pan sauce out of it in much of the way in Scandinavian tradition you have sort of these berry-based reductions that go alongside of meats.

HANSEN: Do you have a culinary strategy for leftovers? I mean, take a look at all the foods that could be included in a holiday meal. Are there food combinations that work particularly well together?

Mr. LIEBERMAN: You're basically dealing with the same palate, the same flavors, but in terms of a strategy, something that I always think about is, you know, when leftovers sit in the fridge they lose a little bit of their moisture, so you want to add some moisture back to the leftovers. And you probably need to re-season it too with just, you know, salt and pepper and kind of refreshen it with a new way of cooking it.

So that, like, with the mashed potatoes, it tastes better pan-fried into a pancake because you've refreshed it and turned the leftovers into the base of a new concept. And so that's basically what I like to do.

HANSEN: So, given that mashed potatoes make good pancakes, have you ever reimagined a holiday dinner as breakfast or brunch?

Mr. LIEBERMAN: Brunch, absolutely. With ham and you can take the leftover ham and make just eggs and ham or you can sear it or you can toss it and make it into a frittata. You can make a Benedict and put turkey in on top of the Benedict. Brunch is anything that you like. So, you can certainly make a really nice brunch and put some champagne and a little orange juice on the table, you got yourself a fancy brunch.

HANSEN: So, what do you do with leftover pie?

Mr. LIEBERMAN: With leftover pie, I just eat it with some ice cream.

HANSEN: Yeah.

Mr. LIEBERMAN: Maybe, you know, but it is - it does make a difference to put it back in the oven as opposed to the microwave, because crusts, above all, do not respond well to microwave heating.

HANSEN: After a huge meal and we have these leftovers and you've given us some great ideas about how to use the leftovers, really, how long should these leftovers be in the fridge, even if you've made a new dish with them?

Mr. LIEBERMAN: Well, once you make a new dish out of a leftover, you know, I think that's pretty much the end of its life there.

HANSEN: What's the one thing you sneak down in the middle of the night and nibble out of the refrigerator after a big holiday meal?

Mr. LIEBERMAN: I always go back more for, like, the turkey or the meat. I don't know, I'm always craving more meat. My father makes an awesome roast turkey at Thanksgiving and any time he makes, you know, braised meats for the holidays, I always find myself sort of sneaking a little bit more a couple of hours after the meal.

HANSEN: Chef Dave Lieberman. You can see him on the PBS show "America's Heartland." And his latest book is called "The 10 Things You Need to Eat," and I guess one of them is leftovers. He joined us from our New York bureau. Thanks a lot, Dave.

Mr. LIEBERMAN: Hey. Thanks so much for having me, Liane.

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