Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend my son’s first JROTC event of the season. It was a crazy week, followed by a crazy weekend and while we had a two hour break on Saturday, my daughter and I decided to head to Panera for lunch.
When November rolls around I begin CRAVING their turkey and cranberry flatbread sandwich. Excitedly we stepped into the restaurant and headed straight for the counter. No need to look at the menu, Mr. Panera Man, I got this figured out.
“I’d like a turkey and cranberry flatbread, please. A WHOLE sandwich, not a half,” I emphasized while my eyes were big with excitement.
I started to dig through my wallet to pull out my credit card.
“Um, we don’t have the turkey and cranberry,” the man stuttered…most likely because he could tell that he was about to ruin my day.
I tried to clarify this great confusion that was happening in my brain by asking, “You mean you are out of turkey and cranberries?”
“Um, no ma’am,” he said, not making eye contact. “We, we just don’t have that sandwich this year.”
I stared at him blankly, not really able to process his words. He looked around uncomfortably. I didn’t budge. Maybe if I stared at him long enough a turkey and cranberry flatbread would appear in front of me.
No such luck.
“How about a turkey BLT sandwich?” he offered to try and disrupt the growing concern that I might attack him.
“Sure,” I said, emotionless. #panerafail
However, after a few days of rest I was determined not to be defeated. Panera does not have a monopoly on turkey and cranberries. I too can make this sandwich! #girlpower
And make it, I did.
In the weekly checklist for this week I shared that it was time plan any post-Thanksgiving meals you may need for guests who are staying with you. This one is a perfect one to add to the menu since this sandwich really needs chunks of turkey meat (not shaved deli meat).
If you have just half of the obsession with turkey and cranberries as I do, you will love this recipe.
The cranberry spread used is not your Grandma’s cranberry sauce. It is called a cranberry mostarda. Sounds fancy, right? It’s not. Cranberry mostarda is what you would have if a sweet jam and a savory chutney had a baby together. Super simple to make…but oh so perfect.
I serve this sandwich with Butternut Squash soup which would also be great for Thanksgiving. You can make it ahead of the big day and keep it in the freezer until it gets close to Thanksgiving. After thawing, you can reheat it in the crockpot so that people can serve themselves in their post-Thanksgiving haze.
Copycat Panera Turkey and Cranberry Flatbread
- 3 oz Freshly roasted turkey
- 7 leaves Baby spinach
- 1 Naan-style bread
- 1 tbsp Boursin® Garlic and Herb cheese
- 2 tbsp Cranberry mostarda (see recipe below)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp cornstarch
To Make The Cranberry Mostarda
- In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, thyme, and ¾ cup and 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the sugar, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Continue to simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining water with the cornstarch, then add to the saucepan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until the mostarda thickens.
- Transfer to a covered, food-safe container and refrigerate for up to one month. (Try adding it to a turkey burger sometime! Yum!)
To Make the Sandwich
- Open up the flat bread. On the bottom part of the sandwich, spread the garlic and herb cheese. Place spinach over top of the cheese, then add the turkey and top turkey with cranberry sauce. Close the sandwich and enjoy.Photo credit: Panera