Turkey Club Casserole

For the béchamel sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups milk
14 teaspoon salt
18 teaspoon white pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg

For the assembly
8 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
12 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
14 teaspoon cayenne
18 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds sandwich bread, thinly sliced (Sadly, the best option I had was Arnold’s Country White which is not thinly sliced.)
1 pound turkey breast, thinly sliced or shredded (I used leftover smoked turkey.)
2 medium tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
12-16 ounces bacon, cooked until crisp and drained
8 ounces ham, thinly sliced
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced or shredded

1. To make the béchamel sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 2 minutes; do not allow to brown.

2. While stirring constantly, add the milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Cook the mixture, stirring, until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and any floury taste is gone, about 8 minutes.  Remove sauce from heat.

3. In large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, milk, salt, mustard, cayenne, and nutmeg.  Set mixture aside. 

4. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x12- or 13-inch glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter. 

5. Layer about 6 slices of bread over bottom of baking dish, cutting slices as necessary to make a single layer of bread.  Spread some of the béchamel evenly over bread slices.  Top with half the turkey, half the tomato, and half the bacon. 

6. Create another layer of bread as in step 5 and spread with more of the béchamel.  Top with half the ham and half the cheese. 

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6.  Then top last ham and cheese layer with last layer of bread spread with remaining béchamel, béchamel side down. 

8. Carefully and slowly, pour egg-milk mixture evenly over top of sandwiches.  Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top of casserole dish and place a second casserole dish on top of the paper to weight the casserole.  Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until the bread has absorbed most of the egg mixture. 

9. Heat oven to 350*F and remove casserole from refrigerator.  Slice remaining 4 tablespoons butter into 8 pieces and place at even intervals over top layer of bread.  Bake casserole, uncovered, until puffy, golden and egg has completely set, about 40 to 50 minutes.  Allow casserole to cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving. 

Turkey Club Casserole

This recipe is from the new Emeril book, Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders.  It was a bit complicated due to the bread I had to work with – the original recipe called for another layer of bread, and to make the sandwiches individually.  I tried to streamline everything with the recipe you see here.  When I saw this recipe, I knew that it would be a great way to use up some of the excess smoked turkey we had in the freezer and it worked perfectly.  The casserole was delicious, sort of like a cross between a turkey club sandwich and French toast or strata. 

Weird, but good, and well worth the effort.

Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders

High-Heat Roasted Turkey

12-15 pound turkey, thawed
5 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Position a rack at the lowest level of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425*F.

2. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey, then rinse inside and out and pat dry.

3. Generously rub the body and neck cavities and sprinkle the skin with salt.

4. Truss the bird if desired but at least tuck the wings under the bird, this will make it easier to turn. Place it in a heavy non-stick roasting pan and brush all over with butter.  (I’ve always used a pan with a V-rack and it’s wonderful.)  

5. Arrange the turkey so that it rests on one of its sides, using aluminum foil balls to prop it up if necessary. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove turkey from the oven. Protecting your hands, rotate the turkey to the other side.

6. Baste all exposed skin with pan drippings, then roast for 30 minutes. Turn and baste twice more so that the turkey roasts twice on each side, for a total of 2 hours. Note: If using a heritage turkey, reduce this time to 20 minutes per flip from 30. 

7. Turn the turkey breast side up, baste and roast until an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh reads 175*F, 10 to 30 minutes more.

8. Remove turkey to a platter and let stand, tented with foil, for at least 20 minutes before carving.


This recipe comes from the 1997 Joy of Cooking.  I’ve been using it since 2001 and I have always been thrilled with the results.  The rotation yields moist and tender white meat and dark meat since it allows the dark meat to get extra cooking time and the juices to move throughout the bird during cooking.  

One year I did try brining the bird, but I was extremely let down by the results and did find the meat to be much saltier than usual.  

The one downside to this cooking method is that you do need a smaller bird.  It wouldn’t work well with a 20 pound turkey, for instance.  Try to keep to the 12-15 pound range.  I also opt to not stuff the bird because that makes it more difficult to turn.  Instead I mix some of the drippings into the stuffing in a separate pan to ensure the stuffing will be nicely flavored from the turkey.  

I have also found, with the turkeys I usually get, that the cooking time in step 7 is often extremely short, so make sure you have your thermometer on hand.

I recommend using leftovers to make Turkey Tetrazzini.

Note from 2009: I used a silicone band for both the legs and holding the wings to the bird and it was a cinch to turn as a result.  I need to remember to do this again next year.

Joy of Cooking (1997)