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copycat Panera turkey-cranberry flatbread sandwich.

copycat panera turkey cranberry flatbread sandwich.

In about 48 hours, you’ll feel a rumbling under your feet. That rumble? It’ll be every food blogger based in the U.S. trashing their pumpkin stuff in favor of Thanksgiving recipes. Canadians and beyond tolerate this only because mostly of the recipes we crank out transcend Thanksgiving and manage to be useful for wintertime meals; thanks, Rest of the World. We’ll be back on the same page  on or about November 28th.

I’m doing no different this November: all aboard the Thanksgiving train! I suppose I can tell you now (because Feast comes out tomorrow) that I did a recipe feature for them, and it’s going to be awesome, I promise: I did so much recipe development and worked so hard for it that it’ll make your head spin, and all of them are recipes you could make for Thanksgiving, if you feel so inclined, or on some random Thursday: nothing frou-frou, just some solidly delicious fare. But we’ll talk more about that next week.

For now, I give you my favorite thing about fast-casual this November: the Panera Bread Turkey Cranberry Flatbread sandwich. Because I don’t mind being seasonally inappropriate, I’ve been eating this since September, because it’s amazing. It’s not terribly Thanksgiving-ish (because Panera would never do one of those turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce/mashed potato mashups, thank you very much), but has some really nice fall flavor action going on, and it takes a pretty classic combo and gives it a nice twist.

copycat panera turkey cranberry flatbread sandwich.

So you have turkey, and you have cranberry: however, the cranberry is a cranberry mostarda, which my spellcheck just changed to “mustard,” and indeed: spellcheck isn’t far off. Simmer cranberries with a little thyme, add some Dijon mustard and a few other things, and you’ve got yourself a decidedly savory cranberry condiment; a nice departure from sugary cranberry sauce in this. Also, you’ve got some garlic herb spreadable cheese, which I would have never thought to add to something with cranberry and turkey, but it elevates this sandwich from “oh look, turkey cranberry” to something much more complex. Don’t think you can skip it if you make this: it’s an integral part of the flavor profile.

As for the bread it’s on, I didn’t go crazy and make it myself, although I’ve planned some naan-speriments for the near future. This is just store-bought naan from Trader Joe’s, and it’s as tasty as it is pillowy. I went with an open-faced version versus Panera’s fold-over offering to showcase the ingredients a bit more and keep the bread-to-insides ratio as close to theirs as I could. And that’s baby kale on there, which I think is a nice choice versus the spinach in the original; use arugula if you want a bit more of a peppery hit.

I should mention that this goes supremely well with the copycat I made of Panera’s Autumn Squash Soup last year: a soup which I make over and over all winter long because I adore it. Truly thanksgiving on a plate, minus the post-meal coma.

I was very gung-ho about trying to create this from scratch, but the first google search I made for “cranberry mostarda” yielded the actual published recipe from Panera (cue “womp womp” sound effect): so my work was done for me save for some minor adjustments. It wasn’t terribly hard to break it down from there.

Turkey Cranberry Flatbread Sandwiches [Panera Copycat]

Makes 6 open-faced sandwiches that pair wonderfully with Autumn Squash Soup. Think about it.

for the cranberry mostarda:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon packed fresh thyme leaves
  • 3/4 water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water (to form a slurry)

for the flatbread sandwiches:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked, sliced turkey*
  • 5 oz Boursin garlic and herb cheese (not difficult to find)
  • 2 to 3 oz baby kale, baby arugula, or spinach
  • 3 pieces naan (I used Trader Joes plain variety), halved (or use your favorite flatbread)

*I’m not going to tell you what turkey to use: who am I to do that? I like roasted turkey tenderloins for this, roasted and sliced, as you can see. But this is a fabulous recipe for leftover turkey from Thanksgiving or dinner from the night before, also. I will say that this sandwich deserves some decent, thick, warm slices of turkey versus the cold cuts variety: avoid the deli route at all costs, please. 

Make the cranberry mostarda:

In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, thyme, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Add sugar, mustard, vinegar, and lemon juice and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until sauce has reduced slightly.

Whisk together cornstarch and remaining water to form a slurry. Continue stirring cranberry mixture and stream in the slurry. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until sauce has thickened (remember, sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.). Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the sandwiches: 

So I already told you to halve the flatbreads, but refer to the photos above if you haven’t done this: I like to cut them on the diagonal to give them a nice, elongated look. From here, you’re going to divide up the ingredients as you see fit: I’ve given you enough of each quantity to have a little latitude with the toppings, but I’ll order them for you.

First, warm your naan a little if you’d like: it makes for a nice, cosy sandwich. While you’re at it, consider warming your turkey a bit as well as you assemble everything. Spread some of the Boursin cheese on each flatbread as you would a condiment: get a satisfying layer on there, but not too much. Next, spoon out your cranberry mostarda and spread evenly over top: again, a little goes a long way here. Time for the greens: stack a nice pile on top of the cheese and cranberries, and press lightly so everything stays in place. Top each with 4 ounces of warm turkey each (a-ha! no flexibility on that one), and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately alongside that Autumn Squash Soup I was telling you about. 

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12 Comments

  • Reply Deb|EastofEdenCooking October 30, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Easy with fabulous flavor makes for a great day in the kitchen! You’ve nailed it with this fantastic sandwich! And now what willI do with my extra cans of pumpkin… I live forever live in the land of blogger shame, I’ve barely accepted the fast that fall has arrived.

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2014 at 7:10 am

      Thanks, Deb! You’re in good company: we all have our leftover cans of pumpkin. it’s okay. 🙂

  • Reply Brianne October 31, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Oh my gosh, this sounds so good. That mostarda! I dig it. And mad props for doing something with turkey before Thanksgiving rolls around. We made turkey tetrazzini–yes, really–earlier this month, and it was so good. Why save the turkey recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers? Eat more turkey!

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2014 at 7:12 am

      You know, i’m answering this comment about three weeks too late (ugh, WHYYYY can’t i get organized?) but in the meantime, i’ve found many ways to use that mostarda: it’s fabulous on all sorts of sandwiches. turkey tettrazzini! that’s so retro, and i love that. nothing wrong with year-round turkey.

  • Reply Ashley October 31, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I was totally going to try to make my own version of this sandwich because I’m enchanted with the idea (and seriously hope I actually like eating it) of cranberry + turkey. But you totally beat me to it and I bet your version is infinitely better than what I would’ve tried to make initially. And TJ’s naan? Awesome. Especially the freezer one, but even the one in the bread section is soooo good.

    I can’t wait to make your asian turkey salad too!

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2014 at 7:15 am

      Make it: it’s SO EASY! and make a double batch of that mostarda: i promise you’ll use it for more than just this combo. PSSST: try it on grilled cheese…not even kidding.

      YOU REMEMBER THE ASIAN TURKEY SALAD! i know you love that one, as do i. we’re headed out of town, and on my grocery list? the ingredients for that. exact. salad. still my favorite way to do turkey leftovers. check out (i think) bon appetit: they had a post about sandwiches to make, and there was one which stood out to me that maybe you’d like: a turkey “torta” – a turkey sandwich with onion, cilantro, and lime mayo…MMMMMM. i may try it this year.

  • Reply natalie @ wee eats November 3, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    There are so many things to love about this…
    First and foremost, my undying love for Panera. Second, everyone’s undying love for Thanksgiving. Third, the fact that this is going to be all of my meals for our Thanksgiving leftovers… And finally.. I will use literally ANY excuse to eat naan. It’s the best. and since I’m really not a fan of Panera’s “flatbread” bread… naan is a WAY BETTER choice imo.

    On another note… did you use TJ’s fresh or frozen naan? (I think they have both?)

    On another nother note… CRANBERRY MOSTARDA? BE STILL MY HEART.

    Ok. I’m done now .

    • Reply shannon November 25, 2014 at 7:17 am

      it’s my mission to remake everything from panera: it may take years, but when i’m done, we’ll be able to make e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

      i used the fresh naan, b/c (embarrassed face) i didn’t know they had frozen naan? sheesh…i really need to get better at shopping tj’s. new year’s resolution. adding to the list.

      seriously. cranberry mostarda is everything.

  • Reply Connie December 23, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    I just made the mostarda, it can out WONDERFUL! I’m serving roasted turkey flatbread sandwiches on Christmas day as an appetizer with the Autumn Squash Soup and a side of cornbread stuffing.

    • Reply shannon January 3, 2015 at 6:59 am

      Great to hear, Connie! and thank you for the comment: it’s always nice hearing how recipes work out when people try them. Your christmas day meal sounds AMAZING and perfect for the holiday: I feel honored that my recipes were on your table. Thank you!

  • Reply Stacie January 11, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Could you give me measurements for the cranberry mostardo? If you look at the panera recipe all it shows is a blank page! I’m so sad, I should have written it down when I made it the first couple times.

    • Reply Stacie January 11, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Well there it is.. Disregard! Lol

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