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Thanks for Thanksgiving Leftovers
By Kim Hendrickson,
Author of Savory Bites: Easy, Sophisticated Hors d'Oeuvres for Every Occasion

Those looking for light lunch fare or easy finger foods for the next gathering after Thanksgiving don't need to look far. Sometimes leftovers are the best part of the Thanksgiving meal.  My family looks forward to turning the turkey carcass and meat scraps into delicious soup but keep in mind that the very things that are usually leftover from a big Thanksgiving can be easily turned into savory bite entertaining fare.  The ingredients for appetizers and hors d'oeuvres can be assembled in a smaller, creative way with a focus on intense flavor.

Take this Turkey Cranberry Relish Scoop recipe.  I love to write about flavor combinations and how to use them in unconventional ways. This recipe came to me after a past Thanksgiving when I was surrounded by leftovers. If you're like me and crave turnkey and cranberry flavors more than once a year you don't have to wait for Thanksgiving.  This non-sweet (adult) savory bite can be served as a before dinner hors d'oeuvre, or finger food, beautifully presented on endive leaf tips. For a great luncheon salad increase the amount of turkey and serve over a luncheon plate of mesculin greens for a quick and easy meal with friends.

Turkey Cranberry Relish Scoops

This refreshing relish came about when my sister made a wonderful gelatin salad for dessert on Thanksgiving. Cranberry is a favorite flavor for both of us, but this dessert was more refreshing and flavorful than any cranberry combination 1'd had before. A few changes later, these traditional ingredients have a new life in these festive bites for any holiday party.

Yield: 24 scoops

1 ½  cups diced cooked turkey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or ½  teaspoon dried 
½  cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned, drained
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
½  apple, unpeeled, cored, and cut into ½ -inch chunks
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
½  orange, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
24 endive leaves
Thyme sprigs, as garnish

Toss turkey and thyme in a small bowl. Pulse remaining ingredients except endive in a food processor until pureed. (Relish can be made a few days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.) Spoon onto the base of each endive leaf, top with diced turkey, and garnish with a little more relish and a thyme sprig.

Even frozen cranberries can be hard to find, so stock up when in season. Plumped dried cranberries will also work, or raspberries. For variety, replace endive with mini bok choy, or cranberries with 1½ cups blackberries or strawberries.
Leftover turkey or roasted chicken makes a wonderful lunch dish when topped with warmed cranberry relish. The contrast of sweet meat and tart sauce is delicious. Serves 3.

© 2010 Kim Hendrickson, author of Savory Bites: Easy, Sophisticated Hor d'Oeuvers for Every Occasion