The Yesterday-was-Thanksgiving sandwich

Welcome to gravy season!

Spatchcocked turkey from 2020 with a little bit of beer and a tiny Alice in the background.

Welcome to the week for giving thanks! Or at least it’s Thanksgiving week where I live. It’s time for Turkey and gravy and ham, bread rolls and all the side dishes and more gravy.

Today, I’m not writing about how to cook a turkey. I’m going to assume that you or someone else you are celebrating with already know how to do that. But, if you’ve never cooked a turkey before, here’s a turkey brining and cooking recipe that we’ve used many times from the Home Brew Chef.

What I want to do is show you the game plan I most often use to turn the year’s best leftovers into sandwiches.

The beer and Thanksgiving pairings

Before we jump into making leftover sandwiches, you should check out this fun infographic that my friend Em, from Pints and Panels®, created and illustrated. If you’re a beer drinker, hopefully this can give you some ideas about what beers to serve with your Turkey and gravy!

The soft dinner rolls

For my personal leftover sandwich plan, everything starts with the bread. The titular buns in which our ingredients are bounded.

I think bread and all the starchy parts of Thanksgiving are my favorite part of the meal. Just hand me a plate of all the starch and gravy and I could be happy. Maybe I wouldn’t be in the best of health, but I’d be happy until nap time. Anyway, check out these rolls.

New profile pic. What’s up?

Here’s a slideshow of the rising/proofing action that goes into soft roll production. It’s not magic, but sometimes it feels that way.

Below is my roll recipe. These aren’t just for Thanksgiving, bookmark the recipe for other holidays and gatherings or baking for slider sandwich making.

2 hours and 45 minutes
Soft dinner rolls

Need some super soft rolls for your next dinner party or holiday gathering? These squishy rolls also work great as buns for sliders or tiny sandwiches for ants.

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The three heroes of leftover Thanksgiving sandwiching

Now we need to talk about the other stars of a leftover Thanksgiving sandwich. You’re not just putting turkey and cheese on sliced white bread, are you? Don’t be basic when you have other leftovers at your disposal.

There are a lot of Thanksgiving sides that work well in a leftover sandwich. Mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and even green bean casserole could be used. But the following three Thanksgiving sides/accompaniments are my favorite for adding to sandwiches.

The cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce might be one of the most underrated sandwich ingredients. I think almost any savory sandwich could be updated with a spoonful and a spread of a tart and tangy sauce made from cranberries.

Cranberry sauce and ham or turkey is fantastic, and you should be making this recipe year round for sandwiching. Or just buy it from the can. But this recipe has better flavor and texture than the canned stuff.

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20 minutes
Cranberry sauce

Adding tartness and sweet elements to a regular turkey or ham sandwich can be life changing. Cranberry sauce is a staple at many Thanksgiving tables, but really, it's something we should have in our fridge all year round.

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It’s Grrrr-aavy!

There was a long time that I neglected to make homemade turkey gravy at Thanksgiving. I knew that my wife and I would be juggling the Turkey cooking time alongside all the other side dishes, and I figured gravy would be an extra distraction that would take a lot of time. So, we’d buy a jar of gravy and that was one less thing we had to worry about.

I was wrong. Gravy is easy to make!

You basically need an equal amount of fat and flour to make a paste and then you add stock/liquid which brings the liquidity that the butter and flour paste will thicken. You can easily mess up gravy by not stirring it and leaving it lumpy, but if you just pay it a little bit of attention, it’s easy make consistent, tasty gravy.

Even if you used up all of your gravy on Thanksgiving Day and there is none leftover, you should be able to grab the three ingredients you need and within 15 or 20 minutes have a suitable gravy to help lubricate your sandwich moistmaker (did I just type that?).

Recipe Card
15 minutes
Turkey gravy

Gravy is a science, but not difficult science like college science. It's easy science, like middle school science. In most cases, gravy is an equal amount of fat and flour and then you add the liquid.

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Turkey dressing or stuffing

Searing off a sandwich sized patty of dressing.

My family always makes dressing at Thanksgiving and Christmas, not stuffing. But the base ingredients of any stuffing and dressing are similar.

Whether you made stuffing or dressing for your holiday meal, you can turn it into a sandwich layer very easily. When the dressing is cold or at least room temperature, smash and shape a portion into a patty and then fry the patty in a skillet with just a tiny bit of oil. If your skillet is large enough you can also use it to warm the other ingredients for your sandwich at the same time.

Searing your dressing or stuffing in a pan is not just to heat it up, the secondary point is to add crispness which will add more texture to your final sandwich.

This is the dressing recipe that my Mom gave me that my wife and I have scaled down to be a smaller batch.

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1 hour
Turkey dressing

Dressing or Stuffing? The way I think it works is that dressing is typically more compact in a pan than stuffing is. I grew up with dressing that was moist, but still baked in a pan like a casserole.

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You can also add your stuffing/dressing to a searing hot waffle iron to crisp up. But that’s another sandwich blog post on its own.

Assemble these sandwiches

Let’s gather what we can and make some leftover sandwiches!

  1. Grab two adjoining rolls to make a larger sandwich, but you can make small slider sized ones too.
  2. Slice and toast your rolls.
  3. Start your dressing/stuffing searing in a pan.
  4. Heat up your gravy and leftover turkey/ham/protein.
  5. Slather the cranberry sauce on one side of your rolls.
  6. Stack everything together in a coherent way between rolls, step back and enjoy.
I even spread some leftover mashed potatoes on the bottom of this sandwich. Just load up the leftovers.
Turkey, gravy, dressing and cranberry sauce.
The dressing on the bottom with a bit of gravy on top makes me really excited.
Leftover ham, garlic cheddar and cranberry sauce make a simple but very tasty combination.
Ham and cranberry sauce might be better than turkey and cranberry sauce for me.
We really should keep cranberry sauce in our fridge throughout the year.

Hopefully you have something to be thankful for this season. I’m thankful for the fact that people are taking the time to read the things I’m writing about sandwiches.

Here’s to more sandwiches and people to share them with!

Make better Subs and Clubs

A Sub is a Club I want to be a member of.

The turkey, bacon club is one of my favorite sandwiches. But much like a BLT, a club sandwich is dependent on the seasons. Today I want to write about how you can enhance your sub/club sandwiches and how to get past the seasonality issues these sandwiches have.

I’m not going to write about the Club sandwich backstory, because someone else has already done a fantastic job of that. If you want to get deep into the history of the club sandwich, I highly recommend reading this informative edible history of the club sandwich from the Sandwich Tribunal.

A big problem with the club sandwich or the BLT is the T. The tomato is only in season for 2 to 3 months a year unless you grow them yourself. How do we fix this? I have my favorite solution in the tips down below.

Keep reading to learn about the ingredients I use to make my turkey, bacon subs and clubs.

Turkey and bacon sub with provolone
Turkey and bacon club with cheddar and the third slice of bread.

Let’s make some sandwiches

Here are all the ingredients you need:

The two breads

I’ve written about my sub roll before. In fact, I covered it just last week with my shrimp po’boy post. It’s a solid recipe and it’s great for beginner bakers because there aren’t many tricky parts other than rolling and shaping the rolls. The liquid to flour ratio is such that it’s not too sticky or messy to work with which also will help novice and experience bakers alike. I’ve even made it without my stand mixer, so you don’t necessarily need any special tools to make this dough. Give it a shot on your next sub night.

Note: your bread will be better if you use a kitchen scale and weigh out the ingredients in grams.

3 hours
Sub sandwich rolls

This is sort of a French style sandwich roll. Not too crusty but with a good chew for a sub sandwich or po-boy.

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The bread I chose to make the club-style sandwiches was King Arthur Baking’s Harvest Grains bread recipe. Often, for sandwiches like these, I will just make a quick white sandwich loaf or a sourdough sandwich loaf, but I really like the texture that the nuts/seeds bring to the mix in this recipe.

Bounded by Buns Sub sandwich rolls
King Arthur’s Harvest Grains loaf

The mayonnaise

Get some good mayo for these sandwiches. Make your own or buy your favorite. This roasted garlic mayonnaise recipe is fantastic, and I used it for almost all of these sandwiches. Make this recipe.

10 minutes
Roasted garlic mayo

You like sandwiches. Sandwiches like you. You need this roasted garlic mayo to enhance your love with sandwiches.

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The roasted turkey

Sure, you can buy turkey from the deli for a sandwich, but I like thicker sliced turkey that I baked myself for these types of sandwiches. This Cajun turkey recipe is a super simple way to inject a little flavor into your sliced turkey sandwich. If you are buying your turkey from the grocery deli, I suggest asking them to slice it a bit thicker than usual.

1 hour and 5 minutes
Oven roasted cajun turkey

A little spicy and super seasoned moist turkey, ready for slicing. Sandwich turkey is at the next level right here.

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The bacon

Most likely, you already know how to make bacon. But if you don’t, it’s very easy if you want to bake it in the oven. With this technique, you can cook a lot of it at once or just a few slices.

The veggies

I often choose plain ol’ iceberg lettuce on these types of sandwiches. I believe that’s probably the classic choice, but if you want something like romaine or green leaf, go for it. In my opinion, if it’s not dressed, the lettuce is just there for the texture. When I’m making a sub, I like to shred or finely chop my lettuce and then dress it. When I’m making a club, I usually just use larger pieces.

Tomatoes are a huge part of a good turkey, bacon club. They’re only good a few months out of the year, so seize that season when you can. When it’s the off-season, I do have an alternative to the tomatoes down below in the tips section.

The cheese

Use cheese if you want. If you look back at club sandwich history, cheese isn’t really a traditional ingredient. Even so, I add a slice of cheese about half of the time when I’m making a turkey, bacon club or sub. Do what you want. Make yourself happy.

The sub

The staging ingredients for a turkey, bacon sub (except mayonnaise).
Cross section of the turkey, bacon sub.

The club

All the ingredients for a turkey, bacon club (except mayonnaise).
Cross section of a turkey, bacon club (including the third slice of bread).

Now that we have turkey, bacon subs or club sandwiches made, how can we improve them?

5 tips for better subs/clubs

  1. Third slice of bread?
  2. Tomato + mayo
  3. Wrap in paper
  4. Dress your lettuce
  5. Off-season tomatoes

Tip one: that third slice of bread.

I reached out to my Sandwich Friend, Jim from the Sandwich Tribunal, to get his feedback on the third/middle slice of bread that is often in the club sandwich on a restaurant menu. Here’s what he had to say:

“Historically, the club sandwich does not include the third slice of bread, but versions of it with three slices have existed for over 100 years. Historically, the club sandwich was defined by the presence of roast fowl and cured pork, but the three slices of bread are a potent visual symbol that is irretrievably associated with the club sandwich at this point. So, despite the fact that the “club sub” does not include a middle slice of bread–thank god, ’cause that would be stupid–and despite the fact that the ubiquitous fast food chicken club sandwich doesn’t include a middle slice–they just slap some bacon and Swiss cheese in there mostly–most people still think of that double-decker construction as the classic club sandwich. I have stopped fighting it. But when I make a club sandwich for myself, I leave it out.”

Jim Behymer – Sandwich Tribunal

I could easily let Jim’s very educated quote speak for itself, but instead I will also reiterate (in my words) the important things he said: The third slice of bread is bull hockey. Stop it! You don’t need extra bread in this sandwich.

Tip two: put your tomato next to the mayo

Club with no third slice and cheddar cheese. The lightly salted tomato on top of mayonnaise is currently making its own sauce.

The tomato and mayo smushed together start to make their own special sauce from the juice of the tomato. When you have an in-season, ripe, juicy tomato, this flavor combination can be a thing of beauty. Put the tomatoes directly on top of the mayonnaise next time and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Salting and black peppering the tomato when you put it in the sandwich also helps because the salt will help draw out the liquid in the tomato. Salting can help an out-of-season tomato, but for a better alternative to that, check out my last tip below.

Tip three: wrap your subs in paper

Wrap your sub sandwiches in paper. I like to wrap hot and cold sub sandwiches, even at home. Wrapping sandwiches was invented to make sandwiches prepared by a restaurant/deli easier to transport from the restaurant to the place where you plan to eat them.

The side effect of this is that it encloses the sandwich and tightens things up to help meld the contents and sauces together. Wrap your cold sandwiches and let them sit for just a few minutes for all the ingredients to mingle. If you’re eating a hot sandwich, you can use aluminum foil and it will keep more of the heat in. An aluminum foil wrapped hot sandwich will also help melt any cheese.

Tip four: dress your lettuce in oil and red wine vinegar

Dressing your lettuce with a little olive oil and red wine vinegar adds so much to a turkey club or sub.

Add olive oil and red wine vinegar to your lettuce or veggies in general. Typically, I grab a small bowl and add my lettuce to that. Pretend like you’re making a small salad and toss your lettuce in just a drizzle of olive oil followed by a splash of red wine vinegar. Add a small pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix everything around a bit and take a taste of a piece of lettuce to see how it tastes. If you like it, add it to your sandwich. Otherwise, now is the time to adjust your simple dressing.

The zing of the red wine vinegar will add so much to your sandwich. Your life will never be the same again.

Tip five: sun-dried tomato spread

A good sun-dried tomato spread changes some of the flavors up a bit, in a very good way. In the off-season when tomatoes at the store aren’t great, buy or make some sun-dried tomato spread and use that instead. Here’s my recipe, it’s quick and easy and adds huge flavor punches to the sandwich.

This is a good recipe to keep in your back pocket. Print it out and fax it to your grandma. Also: tell her you love her.

5 minutes
Sun-dried tomato spread

This spread is great on a sandwich with cheese and meat. A bagel sandwiched with cream cheese on one side and sun-dried tomato spread on the other is fantastic.

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Two halves of a turkey and bacon club stacked, and we substitute tangy sun-dried tomato spread for the out of season tomato slices.
The addition of sun-dried tomato spread is also a great option in the sub as well.

The sub club recap

Make more turkey, bacon subs and clubs! I’m not sure if anyone reads this part, but if you do, thanks for hanging out!

Check back next week when we roll out a breakfast sandwich.

Now you Joe, and Joe-ing is half the battle

This ain’t no New Jersey sloppy joe.

This week we are getting messy with two different sloppy joe recipes. One is ground beef based and the second uses ground turkey. They’re both solid and the best part is that your ground meat choice is totally interchangeable if you want.

Robin’s turkey sloppy joe recipe is down below.

If you’ve never had a sloppy joe, it’s typically ground meat that is browned with chopped up veggies like onions or bell pepper and then cooked until everything comes together with a tomato based sauce and spices. Sloppy joes are typically served on a soft squishy white bread bun.

If you’re curious about where the sloppy joe comes from, has three theories. Theory one is that the origin point for sloppy joes could be Sloppy Joe’s bar in Havana, Cuba. Their second theory is that a bar called the Silver Slipper in Key West, Florida that was eventually renamed Sloppy Joe’s (based on Ernest Hemingway’s suggestion), could have been the root source of this particular sandwich. And the third suggestion is far away from Florida or Cuba, in Iowa, home of the loose meat sandwich (which is basically what a sloppy joe is, plus tomato sauces and spicing).

Most sloppy joe recipes I’ve seen (and the two you’ll see in this post) make a large number of sandwiches (8+). But the cool thing about sloppy joes is that they’re just as good the next day if they are properly warmed up. In some instances they might be better after the flavors have a chance to build and blend.

What most people think about when they think of sloppy joes. We’re making ours from scratch.

Warming up sloppy joes

It might be weird that we’re talking about heating up/warming up sloppy joes before we’re talking about making them, but I wanted to get this all out of the way. Unless you have a lot of potentially sloppy children, I think you’re going to have leftovers.

If you want to heat up a sloppy joe, there are two methods that I suggest:

  • Microwave: spoon out the amount that will fit in your bun/buns into a microwave safe bowl. For one sandwich I usually go 45 or 60 seconds. But your microwave will vary. You just want things to be hot (obviously).
  • Stove top: spoon out the amount that will fit into your buns into a small pot. For one sandwich you only need 3 or 4 minutes. You’ll need more time if you’re reheating a lot, but this is where you can just heat it up and taste or stick your finger in to judge the temperature.

I suggest the microwave technique for a single sandwich and if you’re warming up sloppy joe for multiple sandwiches, the stove top option might be easiest.

The soft squishy potato bun

These recently butter painted potato rolls were 85 grams each when shaped into buns (pre-baked weight).

All sloppy joes need a soft squishy bun and I’ve got a newish soft squishy bun recipe that I’ve been working on. If you read my blog regularly, you know I’m often using King Arthur Baking’s potato bun recipe. It’s a great recipe, but in the weights I’m using, it makes 9 or 10 buns and that’s just too many buns for most of my sandwich applications. The King Arthur recipe claims the recipe yield is 6 buns, but those would turn out to be huge buns. I weigh out around 85 or 90 grams and can easily get 9 buns from their recipe for that yield.

So I’ve scaled down the recipe a little and swapped the dry milk for regular milk (also works well with almond or alternate non-dairy milks). I’ve also tested this bun with potato flour or potato flakes and they seem to be somewhat interchangeable.

This bun recipe is great for sloppy joes, smash burgers and fried chicken sandwiches. Bookmark it to make for your next backyard cookout.

2 hours and 45 minutes
Super soft potato buns

Need six super soft perfectly sized burger buns? The kind of bun that is slightly smaller than your burger patty so that you get a solid burger to bun ratio? Try this recipe.

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Here’s a quick video tweet of another batch of my potato buns that I made for burgers recently.

The turkey joe

The setup for turkey recipe

My wife, Robin, has been tweaking this sloppy joe recipe for at least fifteen years. It’s a bit sweet and a tad spicy but it all comes together and is a tried and tested recipe we both enjoy frequently.

I’m aware that there are folks out there that for strange reasons adamantly despise anything to do with turkey (they tweet at me often) and if that’s you, I’m happy to say that both of the sloppy joe recipes I’m sharing in this blog post can be made with either ground turkey, ground beef or even your choice of a plant based alternative (read my thoughts on Impossible/Beyond meat alternatives).

Robin’s recipe uses red wine, red wine vinegar, brown sugar and jalapenos which are all common ingredients but alter slightly from typical sloppy joe recipes.

40 minutes
Robin's turkey sloppy joes

A sloppy joe recipe that is sweet and spicy just like Robin. She is going to be mad at me when she reads this but it is true.

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Turkey sloppy joe
Turkey sloppy joe with pickled red onions (recipe below).

And now lets try a another sloppy sandwich.

The beef joe

All we’re missing is the beef.

I said this at least twice already, but the ground meat option in both of these recipes can be swapped around. This recipe is just the way I typically make mine with ground beef.

My recipe is considerably different than Robin’s. It’s less sweet and I don’t really add much heat at all. This sloppy joe recipe is much more like an old school sloppy joe recipe (minus the beer). If you would like to add some spice or heat, I would suggest finely chopping a jalapeno and adding it when you add your diced red pepper.

Texture tip: If you prefer your sloppy joes to be less chunky, I like to use a potato masher and mash the ground beef while it’s cooking. This is a simple way to break up the meat into smaller pieces and provides a different texture to the final joe mixture.

40 minutes
Jonathan's sloppy joes

Looking for an old school sloppy joe recipe that will bring you back to the days of your youth when your back did not hurt? This one will do that and leave you with a big comforting hug.

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The beef sloppy joe setup with pickled red onions that give things a new layer of flavor. We also occasionally will put pickles on a sloppy joe as well. Pickled red onion recipe down below.
Beef with sharp cheddar melted on the bottom bun.

The rest of the sandwiches

Sometimes you add cheese.

If I’m planning to put cheese on a sloppy joe, I like to toast my buns under the broiler, add some sloppy joe mix and then put the cheese on top and slip it back under the broiler open faced for just a minute or so until things get melty.

Turkey sloppy joe and melted munster cheese on a toasted potato roll.

Add some pickled veggies

Sometimes you add pickled red onion or other pickles.

Pickled vegetables or in this case pickled red onions are an easy way to add zip and tang and crunch to any sandwich. We also have added dill pickles to sloppy joes, there are just no photos available to prove this fact. But it works and is a great way to change up your sloppy joe if you’re eating it a couple nights in a row.

5 minutes
Pickled red onions

Pickled red onions are a tangy and slightly sweet addition to a sandwich that will add texture and crunch. This is a super easy and quick recipe that will add a big flavor bang to your next sandwich.

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Beef sloppy joe and pickled red onions.

Biscuit Joes!

And sometimes you add biscuits.

I made these because I had leftover sloppy joe and someone told me September was National Biscuit Month. I try to follow the rules. Not sure if I ever would have thought about doing this, but it was actually really good. Sort of like small sloppy joe sliders but biscuit-y-er.

After enjoying these, I would also recommend just serving sloppy joe mixture spooned on top of open face, toasted biscuits, like biscuits and gravy.

Biscuit joes with melted extra sharp cheddar
Biscuit joes with melted swiss cheese.

Be more sloppy

Sloppy joes are great. They’re easy to make and fun to eat. If you’ve never made them before, give it a shot. Add something sloppy to your easy dinner rotation. If you know you have a busy week coming up, you can make a batch of these on Saturday or Sunday and enjoy a couple of nights of very quick dinners during the week.

Check back next week when I make a sandwich named after a military man who died before knowing he’d been immortalized as a sandwich.

Can’t quit the herb cold turkey

Robin wanted me to title this one: “Not your Uncle Herb’s turkey sandwich.”

This week started out with me having an urge to bake some bagels. Part of my blog process, and one of my most often used sources for sandwich inspiration is google image search. I will often search to see examples of things that are like what I am attempting to make. My google search history is as full of sandwiches as I am.

A screenshot from Bruegger’s online menu.

I began with no real plan except I wanted to bake another batch of bagels and while searching around I was reminded of Bruegger’s.

If you’re not familiar, Bruegger’s Bagels is a sandwich chain in the United States (just shy of 200 locations) that specializes in bagel sandwiches. Twenty plus years ago, when my wife and I had just started dating, we enjoyed quite a few trips to our nearby Bruegger’s. Often, I think we both ordered a custom build-your-own bagel sandwich, but there was one sandwich on their specialties menu that we enjoyed from time to time.

From Bruegger’s Facebook page (this is not my photo). This is an official photo of the sandwich I’m attempting to copycat. Click for larger.

The Herby Turkey is a sliced roasted turkey sandwich with garlic and herb flavored cream cheese, sundried tomato spread, lettuce and red onions on a sesame bagel. I have no idea if the Herby Turkey is a good sandwich on Bruegger’s menu today because I haven’t eaten at one in more than fifteen years, but it is the bagel sandwich that I remember best from that period in my life. It also seemed like a fun sandwich to tackle for the blog.

Read along as I tell and show you how I made the ingredients in my version of the Herby Turkey bagel.

The bagels

I’ve only made four batches of bagels ever. My first batch (pictured down below) was a sourdough batch and since then I’ve tried two other recipes. The one that I’ve made the most (twice) is this easy bagel recipe from King Arthur Baking.

Bagels start out like regular bread dough but then shift to being similar to baking pretzels because there’s a short period of boiling prior to actual baking. For this King Arthur recipe, the only non-typical ingredient is non-diastatic malt powder. I bought this stuff from Amazon, but King Arthur’s recipe says that you can also use brown sugar or barley malt syrup which I have also used in a past recipe. I’m not sure that the difference was great enough to notice, but I want to do one more batch with the non-diastatic malt powder before I decide on that.

For this Herby Turkey recreation, I baked some sesame bagels and some plain ones.
Open says-a me!
This is the first batch of bagels I ever baked in early April 2020. These are from a sourdough recipe.

The Turkey

For this week’s sandwich I was at the store interested in buying a turkey breast and they were out. The local store I shop at (shout out to Cermak Produce on North Ave) usually has a great meat selection with lots of turkey options but this day they were cleaned out. Instead of a breast, I was able to buy bone-in turkey thighs. Sometimes you need to audible and change your plans.

If you want to replicate this sandwich or something like it, you can use the recipe below for a black pepper crusted turkey breast. This was the first time I had bought bone in turkey thighs or any sort of turkey thighs to cook. We have cooked whole turkeys and turkey breasts but never thighs alone. But since I enjoy cooking chicken thighs so much, I figured I’d give it a shot.

I googled some turkey thigh recipes online and narrowed it down to the oven-based ones. They all said somewhere between 350 F and 400 F and 50 to 70 minutes. I started at 400 and set an instant read thermometer and it took right around 55 minutes to get to 160 degrees F. Carryover cooking took it up to 165 after it was removed from the oven.

I let the thighs cool off, removed the bone, and then put them into the fridge for slicing when they had firmed up the next day.

Here’s my black pepper crusted turkey breast recipe, it’s great if you like pepper and it’s easy.

2 hours and 5 minutes
Oven roasted black pepper turkey

Super peppery turkey when cooked to temp is a very flavorful and moist addition to a sandwich. From a turkey, bacon club to a Kentucky Hot Brown (not an urban dictionary entry), this is a solid recipe to have bookmarked.

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The cream cheese

I never thought I’d be making my own bagels, much less whipping up my own cream cheese flavors.

Growing up in the Southeastern United States, I don’t think I had ever had a bagel sandwich with cream cheese on it until I was in my mid 20’s. I had certainly had bagels and cream cheese before, but not in an official sandwich role with meat and veggies.

Since then, I’ve become a pretty big fan of cream cheese in sandwiches and even hot dogs (cream cheese on a hot dog is a top tier condiment – but this discussion is for another sandwich, another week).

Sure, you can buy herb flavored cream cheese at most grocery stores, but I decided to make my own. Other than 50-ish minutes waiting for garlic to roast in the oven, this recipe is very simple to make.

1 hour
Roasted garlic herby cream cheese

Creamy with herby freshness and sweet roasted garlic, this spread is great on bagels or toast. You can even enjoy this on crackers as a snack.

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Sun dried tomato spread

Much like the flavored cream cheese, sun dried tomato spread is also very easy to make. It is also something you can buy at the store, so take that into account if you want to make this sandwich. Sun dried tomato spread is great on other sandwiches too. During the winter, you can substitute a regular tomato slice for sun dried tomato spread to step your off-season BLT game up.

5 minutes
Sun-dried tomato spread

This spread is great on a sandwich with cheese and meat. A bagel sandwiched with cream cheese on one side and sun-dried tomato spread on the other is fantastic.

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Put it all together

Let us assemble all this sandwich stuff. Here are all the ingredients in one photo ready for sandwiching.

All the pieces for my herby turkey inspired bagel sandwich.

Once you get all your ingredients together, I placed my sandwich parts into the following order from top to bottom:

  • top bagel slice
  • spread of sun dried tomato spread
  • sliced red onion
  • turkey slices
  • green leaf lettuce
  • big smear of garlic herby cream cheese
  • bottom bagel slice

BAGEL SANDWICH TIP: cut your bagel sandwich in half. This may offend some folks. I don’t know how they do it in NYC or Montreal but cutting a bagel sandwich in half could be the best thing you take away from this blog post. When you bite into a bagel sandwich, you’re biting down hard; a bagel isn’t the softest bread. A hard bite will shove and push your sandwich internals all around and potentially out of the sandwich. Cutting the bagel in half means you have less horizontal distance to shove ingredients out of your sandwich. Even if none of this totally real sandwich physics are true, having two smaller sandwich pieces will mean that there’s less sandwich internals to smush around.

Trust me: slicing your bagel sandwich in half is the way to go for maximum bagel sandwich enjoyment.

Cross section of one of my homemade herby turkey bagels.
Sandwich, ready for a close up.

Even if you don’t try to make any of these ingredients and instead buy them at the store, I certainly hope you’ll try a bagel with cream cheese and sun dried tomato spread. That combination would work with all sorts of meat and veggies and the chewiness of the bagel pairs well with soft spreadable cream cheese and tangy tomato spread.

Check back next week when I get crazy with potatoes and sandwiches.