Food hangovers are the best hangovers

I’m still recovering from Thanksgiving—though if I’m honest, most of my recovery is about getting accustomed to leaving my house again. There is nothing like hectic travel and winter-storm-delay worries to keep me holed up in my house, bundled in sweats, cuddling with cats, and eating leftovers until my fridge is empty again.

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Feast of feasts. Clockwise from top: cornbread stuffing with Benton’s bacon; Brussels sprouts with lemon zest and tahini-yoghurt dressing; beet salad with horseradish and poppy seeds; braised carrots; roasted vegetables with dijon butter, and cranberry sauce.

I don’t know about you, but the leftovers are my favorite part about Thanksgiving. I like turkey dinner so much that I only rarely branch out to do something different on Christmas, and it’s not uncommon for me to make a roast chicken with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a veritable bucketload of veggie side dishes on my birthday and other small holidays. I love that first meal, but I tend to ignore the turkey in favor of the ginger-glazed parsnips; the sautéed brussels sprouts with bacon; the spiced cranberry sauce; the roasted sweet potatoes; and, of course, the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy made with carefully-hoarded drippings.

The turkey gets center stage in later iterations of the meal. Sandwiches are king in my house, to be sure, but pot pie & noodle soup get their turn too, as does the occasional weird experiment. Turkey fried rice didn’t really do it for me, but Eggs Benedict has become one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving leftovers.

benedict

It all started three years ago, when I read this Serious Eats article about stuffing waffles. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe calls for the stuffing to be cooked in the waffle iron instead of in the oven, but for me, it is the best possible way to take your leftover stuffing and reheat it while amping up the crispiness to epic levels. To get maximum crispiness with minimum burning, I tend to turn the heat down from the standard setting I use for waffles (protip: if you’re like me and can never remember what heat setting to use, mark your optimum waffle setting with a silver Sharpie). Really, though, stuffing waffles reach their full potential when they become part of the best iteration of Eggs Benedict that I can imagine: Turkey Dinner Eggs Benedict. Bread base: Stuffing waffle. Meat: Leftover turkey. Top it with poached eggs and hollandaise, and instead of hash browns for a side, heat up some leftover mashed potatoes.

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Turkey Dinner Eggs Benedict

1 to 1½ cups leftover stuffing
salt
4 large eggs
~3 ounces leftover turkey, sliced and hot
Hollandaise sauce (see below)
fresh parsley, for garnish
leftover mashed potatoes & gravy (optional)

Set the oven to 200ºF. Heat waffle iron to medium-low heat. Scoop ½ to ¾ cup of leftover stuffing into the waffle iron and cooked until dark golden brown and crispy. Transfer to the oven to keep warm while you cook the second waffle. (This is for a standard thin waffle; if you have a deep-pocket Belgian waffle maker, you may prefer to make one large waffle.

Meanwhile, make the hollandaise and the poached eggs. For the poached eggs, fill a skillet or wide-bottomed pot (preferably nonstick, and with a lid) with about an inch of water. Add a tablespoon of salt and bring to just barely a simmer. If you poach a lot of eggs, feel free to crack them directly into the pot, but I recommend using a little ramekin instead: crack the egg into the ramekin, lower it partly into the water, and gently-but-quickly turn the egg into the water: you’re trying to reduce the amount that the egg moves to reduce feathering of the white. Repeat with the other three eggs, moving as quickly as you can (it can be worth it to dirty four ramekins so that the eggs are all cracked ahead of time if you’re a perfectionist). Cover the pot, turn the heat off, and set a timer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, gently test for doneness (I use a highly technical method of lifting an egg out with a slotted spoon and gently jabbing it with my finger). 5 minutes covered is perfect for me, but you can give them more time if you like a firmer yolk.  If you finish these ahead of time, they can be kept in a bowl of ice water and quickly reheated in hot water.

To assemble the dishes, distribute the waffles into two piles each plate. Top with the sliced turkey, then gently add a poached egg to each. Spoon some of the hollandaise over each egg. Top the eggs with some chopped parsley and serve with leftover mashed potatoes and gravy.

Serves 2



Hollandaise Sauce
It doesn’t reheat well or even stand for very long, but it scales up or down easily and doesn’t take very long to make.

3 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon water
½ cup clarified or melted butter, or melted ghee, warm (see below)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, to taste
salt to taste
white pepper (optional)
pinch cayenne (optional)

Clarified butter isn’t essential, but it will help keep the emulsion uniform. The easiest thing to use is ghee, but if I don’t have any on hand, I’ll melt the butter until the solids foam off and then carefully skim those off and call it good enough.

Set up a double boiler or a pot and heatproof bowl so that the water doesn’t quite touch the bottom of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and water until light in color. Put over the double boiler and heat, whisking constantly until thickened, 3–4 minutes.

Remove from the heat (turn off the double boiler but keep it handy; you can keep the finished hollandaise warm over the slightly-cooled water later) and whisk for about a minute to cool a bit. Whisking all the time, drizzle in the butter a bit at a time, letting the butter get absorbed—the mixture should be thick and glossy.

Whisk in the lemon juice to taste, and season to taste with salt and white pepper and cayenne, if you like.

Keep the mixture warm over the double boiler while you plate the Eggs Benedict, stirring occasionally if needed.

Makes a scant 1 cup


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