What to Do With the Last of the Turkey

“HVC” didn’t make it to Thanksgiving dinner at the Johnson house this year — the first time in years that our good friend had missed the massive feast.

As a result, we had a lot more leftovers than usual. Enough to get us through the long holiday weekend, with a few scraps remaining even Sunday night.

Not wanting to waste any of the bounty, I pulled out one of my Mom’s old recipes — one that we normally don’t even look at until around springtime, since it’s a wonderful dish to take along on the first picnic of the year.

Because it’s a turkey-based dish, it matches quite nicely with Chardonnay. And because it includes cranberries, it also can be served with Pinot Noir. So, if you have some leftover wine in addition to some leftover turkey, you’re in business.

This recipe yields about 12 servings, and can be adjusted based on how much turkey you have left.

Oh, in case you’re wondering… “HVC” is short-hand for “Human Vacuum Cleaner,” our friend’s nickname.



  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup cashew pieces
  • 6 cups cooked turkey, chopped into small chunks
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Ground black pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil.

2. Place cranberries, orange juice, orange zest and sugar into a pot. Bring to a boil, then cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all the liquid has cooked away (about 5 minutes). Remove remaining liquid from heat, and allow it to cool.

3. Place cashews on a baking pan. Roast in preheated oven until brown (about 10 to 12 minutes). Remove, and allow to cool.

4. In a large bowl, mix the turkey with the celery, mayonnaise, applesauce, salt, sage, thyme and pepper until evenly blended. Fold in the cranberry mixture.

5. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, then serve.

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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