Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Turkey Pot Pie a Great Way to Use Leftover Turkey

Okay, this is my 2nd dish using some of our leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. By now, if you haven't used all your turkey up yet, you might be thinking about freezing some of it for later use. We ate the soup I made for a couple of days and I made this pot pie yesterday, to have some change going on in meals. Pot Pies, when I was growing up, came in little freezer boxes, in their own individual tiny pie tins, with both top and bottom crust. I loved those things. I am a true fan of the soggy bottom crust. I know everyone these days seem to be fixated on how to make the bottom crust of a pie crispy. All I can ask is why? I was out looking at recipes for others' pot pies and even saw one site where someone put the bottom crust in the oven first for 15 minutes, before adding in the filling and fitting with the top crust. If this suits you, then you might try this method. Not me.

If you have some pie dough in the freezer, you have a big part of this dish done already; just get it out and thaw. Preparation of this dish can also be divided up. Once the vegetables are cooked, the whole thing can be chilled to pick up later and continue. If you have to make the pie crust from scratch, which I did, you will want to make it earlier in the day or even the day before and chill it, so it's ready when you need it. I always use my Never Fail Pie Crust, or the Even Better Never Fail Pie Crust, since it makes large amounts. These recipes make enough for 3 (10-inch) pie crusts. Since this pie is made in a 10-inch pie plate, and uses a double crust, you will have enough for this recipe, plus one crust worth left to freeze for another use. 

Turkey Pot Pie

What Flavors?

Getting started, I thought about what vegetables I wanted in my pot pie. Most any vegetables can go in it, but I wanted the regular vegetables I know in pot pies, namely, onion, celery, carrot, potatoes and peas. Though my love for those little individual frozen pot pies was great, at this time in my life I was also looking for ways to heighten flavor. Using homemade turkey stock is wonderful, if it is available. Unfortunately I used all my stock in the soup I made a few days back. On to plan B: I used a bit of "chicken base" in warm water. This provided most of the salt needed in the recipe, also. Another trick to heighten flavor is to use wine of some sort. Adding wine and then completely cooking it out, until the pan is dry, gives a huge boost to flavor, with no residual alcohol. A third thing is the use of Worcestershire. It doesn't take much to really add flavor; just a tablespoon or so is enough. If, perchance, you can find the Lea & Perrins Chicken Worcestershire ("The Rooster-Booster" it says on the label), so much the better. Last but not least, herbs. I used some dry sage and thyme.

Getting Started

The first thing to start off the filling is gently sauteeing, or "sweating" the vegetables. In other words, you are not going for browning the vegetables, but only softening. I started with half the butter I planned to use, 2 tablespoons, and melted it in a large skillet. I added in the Holy Trinity of vegetables: onion, celery and carrot, and sweated them for about 10 or 12 minutes on medium low heat. The garlic was added after this time period, and only cooked another minute or so. At this point, I added in some Dry Sherry. Another dry white wine will do fine. Make sure if you do use Sherry, that it is one of the dry ones like Fino. There was no Fino Sherry in the store here, but I used one called Dry Sack, which worked perfectly. On absolutely NO account should you ever use anything called "Cooking Sherry!" If you cannot drink it, you should not use it in food. Once the Sherry or other dry white wine is added, allow this liquid to simmer out completely, until all that is left are the little oily beads from the butter in the pan.  Now add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to melt.
Sweating vegetables       |         add garlic        |        add the wine    |  allow wine to evaporate  |   add in the remaining butter

Making the Sauce

The next step in this process is making a roux. I expounded at some length on making roux in my post of November 25th, Two Methods to Make Great Turkey Gravy. Basically, flour is added to a melted fat of choice and stirred until the two are totally combined and sandy looking. Then, a cool liquid is added and stirred until the mixture thickens. Once the second bit of butter was added to the vegetables in the pan and thoroughly melted, the flour went in and was mixed until no white was remaining. Now is the time to add the chicken stock, water, or a mixture of water and chicken "base" or bouillon cubes. Stirring until this thickened, now the sage and thyme were added, with the Chicken Worcestershire and the cubed potatoes. The potatoes can be peeled or not, as desired. In my house they MUST be peeled! Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Flour added        |       stirred in completely         |       stock added     |      stir until thickened     |      add potatoes & cook

Finishing the Filling

Once the potatoes are tender, this is the time to set the dish aside until later, if time does not permit finalizing the dish at once. The mixture can be cooled and refrigerated until next day, or just set aside until later, while preparing other things. If the vegetable mixture was chilled, make sure it is heated through before continuing. If continuing immediately, this is the time to fit the bottom pie crust into your pie plate. Roll out the top crust and leave aside until ready. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Chicken Worcestershire  |  mixture warm   |  add peas, parsley & sour cream  |  stir thoroughly  |  add turkey & cheese

When ready to proceed, have the remaining ingredients handy. Add in the peas, parsley and sour cream and mix thoroughly. No need to cook. Add in the cubed turkey and the cheese and combine. 

How to Make the Pot Pie

Once the bottom pastry crust is in the pie plate, make sure that the pastry is eased well into the plate. It should not tug at the sides at all. Once it is well settled in the plate, use a small paring knife to trim flush against the outer edge of the plate. Set the top crust into place, then trim the top crust so it extends at least 1/2-inch beyond the edge of the plate. Tuck this extra width of pastry underneath the edge of the bottom crust. Crimp the edges as desired. Poke various small vent holes into the top crust and bake the pot pie for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 to 35 minutes more, turning the pie to brown evenly. If the crust gets too browned, cover the edges with foil.
filling into pastry      |   top cruse set in place & trimmed  |    fold top crust under       |      crimp and vent      |          baked   

Once the pie is done, allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting. Here is the recipe:

Turkey Pot Pie

Makes one 10-inch pot pie. Serves at least 6.

1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
1 cup onion chopped
1 to 1 1/4 cup chopped celery
1 to 1 1/4 cup chopped carrot
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry Sherry or white wine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry sage leaves (<1/2 teaspoon if powdered)
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves (1/4 teaspoon if powdered)
1 1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock, water, or combination of 1 1/2 cup water and 1 1/2 teaspoons bouillon or base
1 1/2 cups cubed potato
1 tablespoon Worcestershire or Chicken Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt, if needed
1 cup frozen peas
2 1/2 cups cubed, cooked turkey
1/4 cup minced parsley
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
pastry for double-crust 10-inch pie

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. Add in the onion, celery and carrot, and sweat them for about 10 or 12 minutes on medium low heat. Add garlic and cook another 1 or so minutes. Add in the dry Sherry or white wine. Allow this liquid to evaporate out completely, until all that is left are the little oily beads from the butter in the pan.  Now add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to melt.

Once butter is melted, add in the flour and mix until there is no white left showing. Pour in the stock or other liquid, stirring until the mixture thickens. Add in the Worcestershire and potatoes, stir and cover the pan. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. 

DO AHEAD: If necessary, the dish can be prepared to this point, cooled and refrigerated. Once ready to continue with the recipe, slowly reheat the mixture thoroughly before proceeding.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the bottom pie pastry and fit it into a 10-inch pie plate, easing it gently into the plate, so there is no pulling from the edges. With a small paring knife, trim the edge flush with the plate. Roll out the top crust and leave it aside.

Finish the filling: To the warm mixture in the pan, first add the peas, parsley and sour cream and stir in until well combined. Add in the cubed turkey and the shredded cheese and stir to combine. Pour this mixture into the prepared crust. The filling is generous!

Top with the second pie crust, easing it over the filling. With a small knife or kitchen shears, trim the top crust so it extends about 1/2-inch beyond the edge of the pit plate. Tuck the top crust underneath the bottom crust edge all around. Crimp or flute the edge all around. Pierce small holes with a knife all over the top of the pastry. Place it in the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Once this 20 minutes is up, rotate the pie and lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Set the timer for 30 to 35 minutes more. If the crust edges become too browned during this time, cover the edges with foil to finish baking.  Allow the pie to cool and set for 30 minutes before cutting.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.