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Delicious Thanksgiving Leftovers: Guinness-Braised “Turkey Sandwich” Tacos

Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything
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One of the smartest things that my family does before Thanksgiving is finishing whatever projects they can as early as possible. There are a lot of basic Thanksgiving necessities like turkey stock and gravy base that freeze incredibly well, and my parents are very good at being on top of this holiday. They will freeze and plan and clean well in advance of the actual day.  Because they were making the stock already, they wound up with a bunch of extra turkey pieces, which got me thinking: what do I want to do this year with the leftovers? I love soup and sandwiches, but since there’s still time to plan ahead, what actually sounds fun, easy and delicious?

Simple! Tacos!

(When in doubt, the answer is usually tacos.)

Everybody loves tacos, so why not make Thanksgiving-leftovers-turkey-sandwich-tacos??? Now, technically, braising the turkey with Guinness would involve lots of slow cooking, but I’m actually using the beer just long enough to fill the turkey with flavor and tenderize it a bit.  It seems safe to assume that you have plenty of already cooked turkey on hand.

Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

 

It’s a beautiful grey morning to be in my warm kitchen, cooking and listening to the wind and the gentle sound of water hitting leaves. The air this morning reminds me of my first days in London. I moved there to attend culinary school without much of a plan besides school itself. No job, no place to live, I stayed in a hostel when I first arrived. Though I managed to find a job and a flat in a matter of just a few days, those first few were disorienting and overwhelming. I didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was going to do it. I’ll admit to spending a lot of time standing outside the hostel smoking cigarette after cigarette and trying to convince myself that I hadn’t just done the insane.

There were a few people staying/living on the street outside of the hostel, one of whom had this awesome dog. A dog being the only reason I ever talk to strangers (who am I kidding? Animals are pretty much the main reason I wind up talking to anyone), I wound up spending several days having wonderful conversations with this guy and his girlfriend. He was incredibly funny and incredibly supportive, trying to convince me that I was going to find a job and a place to live in no time. He was right. I found a place after just a few days and a job as well.

My last night there, the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night and no one could go back inside until some sort of inspection was done. I was exhausted, and fell asleep right there on the street while being watched by this man; his dog, head buried in my lap, sound asleep and snoring loudly.

A man and his dog

Before leaving the hostel, I went over to the nearest shop and bought a couple of beers as a thank you to this guy. For talking, for listening, but mostly for letting me hang out with his dog. I figured Guinness would be a safe choice. How could anyone in London not like Guinness? Boy was I wrong. He flat out refused it! Said that crap wasn’t good enough for his dog and suggested I head back and buy him a decent beer.

A man and his dog

 

Now, I love Guinness. I love it more in London and I love it most in Ireland. I love it the very most at the Guinness Hop Store in Dublin. I will always be a tourist with some seriously happy memories.  Still, every time I drink it and every time I cook with it, I remember the man and his dog and the street in London, and I remember how truly grateful I will always be that he appeared in my life at exactly that moment.

 

Thanks.

A man and his dog in London

 

 

In preparation for several days of “what-on-earth-should-I-do-with-all-of-these-Thanksgiving-leftovers” and with a gratitude-filled memory of a wonderful man and his dog that I’ve carried with me into California, I give you:

 

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Guinness-Braised “Turkey Sandwich” Tacos with Chili-Cranberry Salsa

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Guinness-Braised "Turkey Sandwich" Tacos With Chili-Cranberry Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Guinness-Braised

Ingredients

    For the Turkey
  • 1 cup leftover cooked turkey, shredded
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tall can Guinness
  • 1 tsp oil, neutral flavor like safflower or vegetable
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (I used chipotle powder)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
  • 2 Tbs sherry vinegar
  • 1 squeeze lime juice
  • salt, pepper
  • For the Salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pinch dried chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup cranberries (or cranberry sauce)
  • 2 ea red jalapeños or fresno chilies, seeds removed, juilienned
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup (if you're using cranberry sauce, you might not need this. Taste it first!)
  • 1 Tbs cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 tsp mint, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • salt, pepper
  • For the Tacos
  • 6 ea tortillas
  • 1 cup oil, neutral like safflower or vegetable (or 1/2" in a pan)
  • salt
  • turkey (above)
  • cranberry salsa (above)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, picked
  • 3-5 cranberries, sliced
  • 2 Tbs mayo, mixed with a few dashes of tabasco and a squeeze of lime juice (or plain mayo)
  • Several leaves of lettuce, spinach, or kale
  • 2-3 sprigs cilantro, picked

Instructions

    For the turkey
  • Heat the oil in a saute pan or skillet on a low heat.
  • Add the onions, chili powder, and cumin and cook slowly until the onions begin to caramelize. If they start to stick, you can add a little water.
  • Add the beer and reduce by 1/2.
  • Add the sherry vinegar.
  • Add the turkey and cook until the beer is reduced to a syrup.
  • Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juice
  • For the Salsa
  • Bring the water, maple syrup, and red pepper flakes to a boil and reduce by half.
  • Add the cranberries and the chiles.
  • Cook gently for about 10 minutes, until you have a thick cranberry sauce
  • Add the lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Allow to cool and then mix in the cilantro and mint.
  • Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • (If you have already made cranberry sauce, add the cilantro, mint, chilies, salt, pepper, and lime juice and taste. It's probably perfect!)
  • For the tacos
  • Heat the oil until shimmering.
  • One at a time, gently lower the tortilla into the oil.
  • Cook until it begins to puff and change color and flip over.
  • Cook until it begins to puff, gently folding in half.
  • Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
  • Salt immediately.
  • To assemble
  • Spread the mayo down the center of the taco shell.
  • Place the greens and then turkey and onions in the taco shells, Drizzle cranberry salsa over and top with cilantro leaves and sliced cranberries, if using. Dig in!

Sautéing onions for Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Onions cooking for Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Cranberries for: Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Cranberry Sauce for Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Cranberry sauce for Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Tortillas for Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Taco shell for Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Cranberries and cilantro for Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Delicious and simple Thanksgiving leftovers: a recipe for turkey sandwich tacos! | Tasting Everything

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Guinness-Braised "Turkey Sandwich" Tacos With Chili-Cranberry Salsa

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Thanksgiving Leftovers: Guinness-Braised

Ingredients

    For the Turkey
  • 1 cup leftover cooked turkey, shredded
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tall can Guinness
  • 1 tsp oil, neutral flavor like safflower or vegetable
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder (I used chipotle powder)
  • 1/4 tsp cumin, toasted and ground
  • 2 Tbs sherry vinegar
  • 1 squeeze lime juice
  • salt, pepper
  • For the Salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pinch dried chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup cranberries (or cranberry sauce)
  • 2 ea red jalapeños or fresno chilies, seeds removed, juilienned
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup (if you're using cranberry sauce, you might not need this. Taste it first!)
  • 1 Tbs cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 tsp mint, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • salt, pepper
  • For the Tacos
  • 6 ea tortillas
  • 1 cup oil, neutral like safflower or vegetable (or 1/2" in a pan)
  • salt
  • turkey (above)
  • cranberry salsa (above)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, picked
  • 3-5 cranberries, sliced
  • 2 Tbs mayo, mixed with a few dashes of tabasco and a squeeze of lime juice (or plain mayo)
  • Several leaves of lettuce, spinach, or kale
  • 2-3 sprigs cilantro, picked

Instructions

    For the turkey
  • Heat the oil in a saute pan or skillet on a low heat.
  • Add the onions, chili powder, and cumin and cook slowly until the onions begin to caramelize. If they start to stick, you can add a little water.
  • Add the beer and reduce by 1/2.
  • Add the sherry vinegar.
  • Add the turkey and cook until the beer is reduced to a syrup.
  • Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juice
  • For the Salsa
  • Bring the water, maple syrup, and red pepper flakes to a boil and reduce by half.
  • Add the cranberries and the chiles.
  • Cook gently for about 10 minutes, until you have a thick cranberry sauce
  • Add the lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Allow to cool and then mix in the cilantro and mint.
  • Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • (If you have already made cranberry sauce, add the cilantro, mint, chilies, salt, pepper, and lime juice and taste. It's probably perfect!)
  • For the tacos
  • Heat the oil until shimmering.
  • One at a time, gently lower the tortilla into the oil.
  • Cook until it begins to puff and change color and flip over.
  • Cook until it begins to puff, gently folding in half.
  • Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
  • Salt immediately.
  • To assemble
  • Spread the mayo down the center of the taco shell.
  • Place the greens and then turkey and onions in the taco shells, Drizzle cranberry salsa over and top with cilantro leaves and sliced cranberries, if using. Dig in!

 

Very easy, crazy flavorful, and seriously rewarding! Delicious thanksgiving leftovers the whole family will enjoy!

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5 thoughts on “Delicious Thanksgiving Leftovers: Guinness-Braised “Turkey Sandwich” Tacos

    1. That’s so cool! Thank you so much!!! I love your blog too! Are you eligible? I’ll nominate you as well!

      Hope you enjoy the turkey recipes. If you wind up using any, I’d love to hear how they go!

      Thank you!

      ***edit***This is your award!!! I love what you’re doing and why you’re doing it! I’m so happy that you thought of me. This is a truly cool idea! I’m so participating!

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