While we are fully aware that we are only a little over a week into the month of October, it is not too early to start thinking about the upcoming holiday season, in particular, Thanksgiving. However, if you are like me, you are already dreading the 4-day ordeal in the kitchen required to prepare Thanksgiving dinner (or, if you are like me it normally ends up being more like lunch . . . I will never understand why we eat dinner at 6-7 PM every day of the year and then on Thanksgiving we eat at noon). If you are like me, you just so happen to have some pumpkin aioli left over in the fridge just waiting to be devoured. If you are like me, you put two and two together and get four and decide to make Thanksgiving in a Sandwich and spend just 30 minutes preparing a meal that will please even the pickiest eaters. Not only is this dish quick, it is super healthy too. Its a win win situation (and if you are like me, you like winning).
Our pumpkin aioli recipe was sort of a gamble but turned out to be rather fantastic. We had quite a bit left over and needed to find a mechanism by which to consume it without just eating it with a spoon. Thus, Thanksgiving in a Sandwich was born. This sandwich is a deliciously hot panini, stuffed with sliced turkey, creamy Chèvre (soft goat cheese), dried cranberries, and our pumpkin aioli. We serve it with baked sweet potato fries because, after all, what is Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes? If that is not enough, we pulled out a fantastic beer from the cave to just top this meal off: Autumn Maple from The Bruery. Autumn Maple is essentially Thanksgiving in a bottle. It is brewed with yams, molasses and mounds of spices. I think you now see why we paired our Thanksgiving in a Sandwich with Autumn Maple. One note however, we actually had no bottles of Autumn Maple sitting around and so we were forced to go with the Brett version, released last year. This version is fermented using a wild strain of yeast that brings unique, spicy flavors to the beer that compliment the sweet potatoes quite nicely.
While I would not suggest serving your relatives (and especially your in-laws) a panini for Thanksgiving, our Thanksgiving in a Sandwich is the perfect meal for your Thanksgiving craving, regardless of the day!
- 2-3 sweet potatoes (julienned)
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices fresh Italian bread
- 1/2 cup pumpkin aioli
- 1/3 pound sliced turkey breast (from the deli)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup Chèvre (soft goat cheese)
- 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare the pumpkin aioli if you were not fortunate enough to have some left over.
- In a mixing bowl, toss the julienned sweet potatoes with the olive oil, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.
- Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and slightly browned.
- Meanwhile, preheat your panini maker, melt the butter and slice the bread. To prepare the paninis, lightly butter one side of a slice of bread and place butter-side down on a small plate.
- Spread 1/4 of the pumpkin aioli on the non-buttered side. Layer half of the sliced turkey on top. Then, spread half of the Chèvre on the turkey and sprinkle with half of the dried cranberries. Spread 1/4 of the pumpkin aioli on another slice of bread and place aioli-side down on the sandwich. Lightly brush butter on the top of the sandwich. Repeat for the other sandwich(es).
- Once your panini maker is hot, place the sandwiches on the griddle and cook until the bread is a rich golden brown (about 6-7 minutes). Remove from the panini maker and let sit for 2-3 minutes before cutting.
- Plate your panini with the oven-baked sweet potatoes fries and serve (with Autumn Maple of course).