Leftovers are the best part of Thanksgiving, especially if you have a day after party to eat up the turkey, gravy and sides. Here's a couple of ideas for doing a re-purpose of the big bird, one involving pie, and the other deep-fried. Both are pretty easy to make.

Thanksgiving Leftovers hand pie
Thanksgiving Leftovers hand pie. Photo by Leslie Kelly

Hand pies are so hot right now, both sweet and savory. They've long been a fixture in humble Southern kitchens, where fillings are often made with re-hydrated dried fruit, making for a neater pie with an intense fruit flavor. I'm hooked on peach. These pick-em-up gems are related to turnovers, empanadas, maybe even piroshki.

This year, determined to not suck at roasting a turkey, I did an early bird dry run, experimenting with the beer can roasting method. After the bird was carved and served, there were lots of leftovers, so I bought a pie crust and made a plan. When unrolling the pre-made, frozen crust, it started breaking up. What the heck? Fortunately, I remembered some sage advice from my friend, Kate McDermott, aka The Pie Lady. If pie dough starts cracking, use a little water to "glue" it back together. Just dip your index finger in a bowl of cool water and paint the surface until it comes back together. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top and roll the dough just a bit. I used a large glass as a kind of cookie cutter. Then fill it with your leftovers. I kept it simple and used chopped turkey and gravy, but a little bit of mashed potatoes or yams would be a great addition. Just don't overfill. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Just for fun, I also decided to try deep frying, too, using won ton wrappers I had in the fridge from another stuffing experiment. Same method, small batch frying in a sauce pan so I only had to use about a cup of oil. Fried sage on top, chili-spiked cranberry sauce on the side, I actually liked this version even better than the baked. Because, you know... it's fried.

turkey won tons 2
Thanksgiving Leftovers won tons. Photo by Leslie Kelly

Here's another variation, this one from's Anna Berman, a Thanksgiving Leftovers Wedge Pie.