Turn Your Thanksgiving Leftovers Into a Hot Pocket

It turns out that, if it tastes good together on your Thanksgiving plate, it’ll taste good baked into a pocket.

Wrapping up Thanksgiving leftovers in store-bought pizza dough and baking it all together creates a hand-held pielike treat that’s somewhere between a calzone and one of those Costco chicken bakes. I love how all of the elements of the Thanksgiving meal steam together inside the pizza dough, their flavors mingling and melding.

Recipe: Thanksgiving Leftovers Hot Pocket

You can use just about any mix of leftovers here. It will be delicious.Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.
Cranberry sauce or gravy are also welcome, but if your gravy is too runny, leave it for dipping.Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.
A layer of cheese on top crisps up nicely, its saltiness countering the sweetness of cranberry sauce.Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

The nature of leftovers means that your turkey bakes will be filled differently than mine. I enjoyed mine with stuffing, roasted sweet potatoes, turkey and cranberry sauce, but they would work equally well with leftover green bean casserole, mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts (chopped or sliced into small pieces) or squash. One cup of filling is all you need. Any more, and you run the risk of overstuffing.

Recipes: Thanksgiving Turkey | Sides | Gravy | Stuffings

If you want to add gravy, feel free. If yours is relatively solid at fridge temperature, you can spread some inside the pockets before wrapping. Alternatively mix a few tablespoons of gravy with an equal amount of heavy cream and brush the mixture over the pockets before scoring and baking them. If your gravy is on the looser side when refrigerated, leave it out of the filling so the dough doesn’t get soggy as it bakes, and use it for dipping.

I’ve tested this recipe with homemade dough, with store-bought traditional pizza dough and with canned pizza dough. All three work just fine, though homemade or store-bought will give you the best texture and flavor.

Best of all, it’s a great morning-after Thanksgiving activity for kids (or grown-ups) to choose their own fillings out of the available leftovers. Just make sure not to skip the layer of cheese, which bakes up salty and golden. It adds a nice contrast to sweet cranberry sauce, should you include it.

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