Got Thanksgiving leftovers? Here’s some easy ways to get them gobbled up fast as well as suggested wine pairings to keep each feeling holiday festive. 

Classic Turkey Soup

The grand-daddy of all Thanksgiving leftover recipes.

Put turkey bones into a large pot. Cover with enough water so it’s 2 inches above the bones. Bring to a boil on high - partially covered. Reduce heat. Simmer for 3 hours.  Remove bones and discard. Add soup veggies to taste (carrots, onions, celery, some parsley – whatever you like), plus salt and pepper. Simmer till vegetables are soft – about 45 minutes. Throw in leftover cooked rice or a handful of dry noodles and cook for another 10 minutes or so till done. It’s soup!

Pairs well with: Chardonnay 

Chardonnay is an ideal choice as it complements a variety of flavors, including the herbs used in basting a turkey. Local Vintage: DuCard Vineyards 2020 Chardonnay. This Chardonnay comes from a blend of grapes from two of its Madison vineyard sites and exhibits zesty acidity and a long mouthwatering finish. $32.

Stuffed Mushrooms  

Who doesn’t love stuffed mushrooms?

Get some fresh mushrooms. Remove the stems and chop. Add to the leftover stuffing. Moisten with gravy so it holds together. Mound into the raw mushroom caps. Melt some butter in a skillet. Put the filled caps into the pan – mushroom side down.  Cover. Heat until mushrooms have softened a bit – just a couple of minutes. Pour any remaining juices over mushrooms for serving.   

Pairs well with: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a highly versatile, fruit-forward wine that pairs beautifully with turkey and gravy, not to mention stuffed mushrooms slathered in the stuff. Local Vintage: Stone Tower Winery 2017 Maison Sanglier Pinot Noir. This Burgundian Pinot Noir pairs nicely with poultry and meaty fish, as well as many vegetable dishes. $38.00.

Sweet Potato Bisque

A quick soup that rivals takeout! 

Puree leftover sweet potatoes. It’s OK if there’s other stuff in the sweet potatoes like butter, brown sugar, marshmallow, pineapple etc. Add plant or dairy milk for the consistency you like plus salt and pepper to taste. Heat.

Pairs well with: Riesling

Riesling pairs especially well with turkey and spicier, herbier flavors and a dry Riesling adds a delicious touch to sweeter items such as sweet potatoes. Local Vintage: The Winery at Bull Run 2016 Riesling. This crisp, medium-bodied Riesling has a refreshing minerality throughout and offers a delightful balance of fruit and acidity.  $55.00.

Swiss Eggs and Potatoes

A fancy, no crust quiche. 

Put 3 cups of cooked potato chunks in the bottom of a buttered 8 inch X 2 inch square baking pan.  Whisk together 6 eggs, 3 cups heavy cream, 1 teaspoon salt & ¼ teaspoon hot sauce.  Stir in 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese.  Pour over potatoes.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven till set in center and lightly puffed at edges – about 1 ¼ hours. Cool 20 minutes before cutting. 

Pairs well with: Chardonnay 

As we mentioned previously, Chardonnay is an ideal choice as it complements a variety of flavors and spices used at Thanksgiving. Local Vintage: Philip Carter Winery 2019 Shirley Chardonnay. A full-bodied white perfect for heavier food pairings – creamy sauces like gravy and egg-based dishes. $32. pcwinery.com


Always a winner because not only are they good but people think you’ve gone to culinary school.

Prepare a batch of crepes. Fill them with leftovers and roll up. Put them into a buttered baking dish and pour gravy or cheese sauce generously over the top. Cover. Heat about 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven or microwave.

Pairs well with: Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine and Champagne contain high acidity, which bring out the hearty, aromatic flavors typically associated with Thanksgiving. Local Vintage: Pearmund Cellars Brut Reserve. Crisp acidity, silky texture, and just enough carbonation makes this an incredibly refreshing sparkling. $44. 

Over Stuffed - Knife and Fork Croissant (or Corn Bread or Biscuit!) Sandwiches

Saving the best for last. 

Split, toast (don’t microwave) and butter both cut sides of a split croissant. Use generous amounts of fillings to make sandwiches that are too big to eat without a knife and fork.  Sub corn bread or biscuits, preparing them the same way.

Filling: Turkey, Brie and Ported Cranberries

Briefly microwave a generous amount of turkey and brie until the cheese just starts to melt. Slide onto the buttered bottom half of the croissant. Top with a ladle full of warmed, ported cranberry sauce. (Recipe follows.)  Cover with croissant top forming a sandwich.  Serve with Dijon mustard.

Pairs well with: Petit Verdot. 

Petit Verdot pairs nicely with a variety of cheeses, including brie, aged cheddar, gruyere, and gouda. Local Vintage: Barrel Oak Winery Petit Verdot. A full-bodied red with a warm spice finish. $46. 

Filling: Broccoli, Bacon and Cheese

Top a mound of leftover, cooked broccoli with a generous amount of Velveeta or your fav cheese. Microwave till the cheese melts. Slide onto the buttered bottom half of the croissant. Top with a handful of cooked crispy bacon. Cover with croissant top forming a sandwich.

Pairs well with: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a refreshing white wine that complements many different cheeses. Local Vintage: Winery at LaGrange 2020 Sauvignon Blanc. A light, crisp white with aromas of stone fruits and a palate of mineral with peach and honey notes. $30. 

Ported Cranberry Sauce

Homemade cranberry sauce at its finest! Prepare up to a week before Thanksgiving so the flavors can meet and mingle. Use the leftovers for the Turkey and Brie Croissant Sandwich.

Makes about 3 cups

1 (12 to 16 oz.) bag fresh cranberries

2 cups port wine (other wines not recommended)

1-1/2 cups brown sugar

Wash cranberries under tepid running water. Drain.  

Discard any stems or shriveled berries.

In a large pot, bring wine and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Add cranberries. Cook on medium till they pop - about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove popped cranberries to a heat safe dish.

Continue cooking liquid (uncovered) until it’s reduced by half - about 10 minutes - then pour over the cooked cranberries. Stir. 

Cool. Cover and refrigerate.


This feature appears in the November 2022 issue of Haymarket-Gainesville Lifestyle Magazine. You can pick up copies at these locations

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