Everyone has a different idea of what makes a good Thanksgiving dinner. For our family it's Dad's stuffing, Aunt Robin's broccoli casserole, Grand mom's candied sweet potatoes and Carrie's cranberry sauce. There just isn't any room for experimenting when you are competing with the memories of generations.
Now don't get me wrong, I look forward to those same dishes every year and enjoy the memories that those familiar flavors conjure. It's after Thanksgiving that I really begin to have fun. We always get a bird that is absolutely too big for our family, just so I am sure to have plenty of leftovers for experimenting.
When I heard about the blogger recipe contest sponsored by POM Wonderful, I knew I was going to enter. Not only are fresh pomegranates a delicious treat, the health benefits are amazing. Although fresh pomegranates are only available for a few months, POM Wonderful has a wide variety of juices available year round. If you aren't familiar with all of the benefits of fresh pomegranates, visit their website and you'll understand why you can't live without this amazing fruit.
I've had a hard time waiting to enter this tempting sandwich. It has become a favorite in our house and we look forward to it as much as we do Thanksgiving dinner itself. We call it the Nut-N-Fancy, because the day after Thanksgiving when my family asks: "What's for dinner?", I say Nut-N-Fancy!
The recipe is written using leftover turkey, but we have grown to love this sandwich so much that I roast turkey thighs year round just to make this sandwich. If you want to use it as an appetizer, substitute English muffins for the Italian bread and you'll have a unique addition to your holiday table.
Turkey in Pomegranate Pepper Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
4 to 5 whole pomegranates
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar
2 cups cooked and shredded dark turkey meat
1 1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup cashews
3 tablespoons honey
3 or 4 tablespoons softened butter
Pomegranate Apple Walnut Slaw:
1 medium red apple
1/4 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup chopped roasted walnuts
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons softened butter
8 thick slices bakery Italian bread
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Juice the pomegranates, reserving about 1/4 cup of the arils. Add 1 cup of pomegranate juice to the onion and peppers. Stir in sugar, a little at a time, until the sauce is slightly sweet. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add the chili garlic sauce, stir in the turkey and heat through.
Meanwhile, in a large non stick pan over medium high heat, roast the walnuts and cashews 6-8 minutes until they become fragrant. Add the roasted nuts and honey to the bowl of a food processor. Puree on high until very fine. Add the softened butter a little at a time and purée until a "peanut-buttery" consistency. If the mixture seems too thick add a tablespoon or two of warm water.
Peel, core and slice the apple into thin matchsticks. Place in a medium bowl, add the reserved pomegranate arils, walnuts, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Mix well.
Lighlty spread the softened butter on both sides of each slice of bread. On a stovetop grill pan over medium high heat, grill the bread on each side until toasted but not too dark. Spread some of the walnut butter onto four slices of bread. Top with some of the turkey mixture and some of the pomegranate apple, walnut slaw. Top with the remaining slice of grilled bread. Garnish with pomegranate arils and parsley. Serve warm and enjoy!