On Thanksgiving at Craig Koketsu's house, a roasted turkey will definitely be trotted out, but sides and gravy are the real stars of the show. Even though he's the chef/partner at New York City's Quality Eats, he sticks to the tried-and-true at holidays—no funny business with the stuffing (which might even start with boxed)—and everyone around the table is happy and satisfied. But the morning after is when the real kitchen wizardry begins. Koketsu recombines the best elements of the meal into a stunningly satisfying fried rice that's amped up with scrambled eggs and a solid belt of soy sauce to enhance the savory flavors.
Koketsu's tip: If you can possibly make this in a cast-iron pan, it will form a killer crunchy layer on the bottom that can be peeled up and mixed in for extra flavor and texture.
Thanksgiving Fried Rice
8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch wide strips
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups leftover turkey meat (preferably dark meat) cut into ½-inch pieces
3 cups cooked rice, preferably short grain Japanese or sushi rice
2 cups leftover turkey stuffing
¼ cup soy sauce
½ cup leftover gravy
2 eggs, beaten well
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
Heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over a medium high flame for a few minutes. Add bacon and render out fat. When bacon is almost crispy, add onions and mushrooms. Cook until onions are translucent. Add turkey meat and heat thoroughly. Add rice and stuffing and mix well, making sure everything is coated well with the bacon fat. Continue to heat rice in the skillet and let crisp a little at the bottom. Add soy sauce and gravy and mix well into rice.
Meanwhile, in another small pan, cook beaten eggs until softly scrambled and then add to rice, mix well. Season rice generously with freshly ground black pepper and adjust seasoning with salt if necessary.
Just before serving, mix in chopped scallions. Eat while piping hot. Delicious with cranberry sauce.