By Leslie Kelly
October 30, 2014

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. 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.

Thanksgiving Leftovers won tons. Photo by Leslie Kelly

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