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Plan for leftovers before Thanksgiving

| Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008

Our house, like countless others, will be filled with family for the Thanksgiving weekend. Our son and daughter-in-law and their two young children will travel from Boston to spend the holidays with us. We all adore indulging together in roast turkey and trimmings on the fourth Thursday of November, but truth be told, we are all just as crazy about the dishes we make the following days with the leftovers from this special meal.

I always buy a large bird so that there will be plenty of turkey remaining for sandwiches throughout the long weekend. Sometimes, we assemble hot turkey combos, ladling gravy over mounds of meat set atop toasted bread. On other occasions, Dagwood-style turkey clubs or turkey-and-cranberry panini grace our table. This year, I'm adding a new sandwich -- Turkey Reubens -- to our favorites.

This idea is so simple, I can't imagine why I haven't thought of it before. Sourdough or rye slices are spread with a dressing prepared with mayonnaise and chili sauce, then sliced Gruyere cheese and turkey are added, and finally some purchased sauerkraut. Once assembled, the sandwiches are quickly sauteed in butter and vegetable oil until they are hot inside and the bread a deep golden brown.

Served with kosher dills and potato chips, these sandwiches easily could rival the original Reubens prepared with pastrami. In fact, these delicious hot turkey sandwiches definitely will make you look forward to some post-Thanksgiving eating.

After Thanksgiving Turkey Reubens

• 1/4 cup whole mayonnaise

• 3 tablespoons chili sauce

• 8 slices sourdough or rye bread

• 5 to 6 ounces sliced Gruyere cheese

• 8 ounces roasted and sliced turkey

• About 2 cups sauerkraut, drained well and squeezed dry ( see note )

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more if needed

• 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more if needed

• Potato chips for garnish

• Kosher dill pickles for garnish

Whisk together mayonnaise and chili sauce in a small bowl until blended. Then spread one side of each bread slice with this mixture. Top four of the coated slices with half the cheese, then with the turkey, then with the sauerkraut, and finally with the remaining cheese. Top with the remaining bread slices, coated sides down.

In a large, heavy skillet (that will hold the four sandwiches comfortably in a single layer) set over medium heat, heat the butter and oil until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot. Add the sandwiches and cook, pressing down gently with a metal spatula, until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted, for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add more butter and oil if needed.

To serve, cut each sandwich on the diagonal with a serrated knife and place on an individual serving plate. Garnish with some chips and pickle slices.

Makes 4 servings.

Note: You can find prepared sauerkraut in the refrigerator section of the supermarket. I particularly like Bubbies, a brand that Whole Foods sells.

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