Not sure about you, but post Thanksgiving, outside of a couple favorite sandwiches, some random bits and slices to pick and eat straight out of the frig, there generally is not a huge bounty of leftover turkey in my house.
Well not enough anyway, to prepare anything resembling from among the ’35’ to ‘125’ circulating headline recipe preparations out there promoting ways to use it all up.
This year with a smaller group for the holiday, I still prepared the usual two turkeys which enables guests to fill up personal take-away containers afterward, but this time it provided an extra one whole un-sliced breast suitable for preparing Turkey Pot Pie.
Mentioning the annual circulating headlines revolving around turkey leftovers is not so much meant with sarcasm, so much as curiosity on how year after year there seems a continual inference on what appears to me as astounding amounts of leftover turkey. I mean what are they serving 50 pound turkeys? Or maybe preparing 25 pound turkeys for one or two people? Perhaps they’ve hired a cook in the back room actually preparing a third turkey? How can there possibly be that much leftover turkey?
Having too much leftover turkey might even seem sad to me, like some sort of obvious glare in perhaps having slacked off in the checklist area of holiday hospitality. Hosting Thanksgiving this year was a last minute thing happening between moving parts on varying relative’s needs, but a mere group of nine left me continually reinforcing to myself that having a smaller holiday gathering, since it was a last minute thing, might be uniquely nice for a change. It was. But being one of those folks who believes it’s the same amount of work for ten as for twenty, there was also that nagging voice within reminding me that even with last minute changes I should have invited this one or that one. Sigh.
The other curiosity to me on having on having too much leftover turkey, even with countless recipe options in the repertoire, is how much turkey one person can possibly eat. Around two days later, I for one am quite ready to ring up the local pizzeria for a ‘large regular’ meaning plain old red sauce and cheese on a crispy grilled crust. Comfort.
But since Thanksgiving is the day officially designated for being grateful, perhaps in having a bit more leftover turkey than usual I should then consider it something of a blessing, for it finally contributed to at least one dish from among the ’35’ to ‘125’ ways to use up your leftover turkey. Steaming, bubbling hot, crusty topped Turkey Pot Pie.
- 1 roasted turkey breast, skin removed, cubed into small half inch bite sized pieces
- 6 petite red potatoes, quartered
- 3 large carrots, peeled, cut into half inch pieces on the diagonal
- 1 cup crimini mushrooms, wiped clean, sliced
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean, sliced
- 6 plus 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 leeks, root and dark green top cut off, sliced 1 inch thick, then cut in half, rinsed well
- 2-3 stalks celery, sliced into half inch size pieces
- 1/8 cup dry sherry
- 1/4 cup flour
- good pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 cups frozen green peas
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, more or less to taste
- 2 ready made pie crusts
- 1 egg, beaten lightly with a tablespoon water
- 5 cups milk
- 1 onion, cut in half, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 peppercorns
- 1 stalk celery, cut in half
- Tumble cubed turkey into a large sized mixing bowl. Steam petite red potatoes until just fork tender, around fifteen minutes. Drop carrots into boiling salted water, cook until just fork tender, around twelve minutes, rinse in cool water to stop cooking, drain, transfer to a side dish. Saute mushrooms in 2 tablespoons butter on medium high heat to golden colored, season with a pinch of coarse kosher salt, transfer to a side dish.
- Simmer milk to slight scalding in a pot with the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, and celery, turn off heat, let sit to infuse.
- In a skillet large enough to hold all pot pie ingredients, heat 6 tablespoons butter on low heat, drop in the leeks, cook two minutes, stir in celery, cook five minutes. Strain infused milk, return to pan and keep warm. Sprinkle flour over leek and celery mixture, increase heat to medium, stirring continuously, cook for two and a half to three minutes. Drizzle in the sherry, cook until mostly evaporated, pour in the infused milk, stir, continuing to simmer until slightly thickened, around three minutes, sprinkle in nutmeg. Fold carrots, potatoes, mushrooms throughout turkey cubes, tumble into the creamy sauce, stir in the peas, thyme, salt and pepper, check seasoning, adjust to taste, warm through another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease individual crocks or large sized pie plate, spoon in pot pie mixture, top with fitted pie crust shapes. Make a hole in the center of each pot pie decoratively adding a few slashes on the top to release steam. Brush top with egg wash. Cover with aluminum foil then set on top baking sheet, place into oven for 20- 25 minutes before removing foil and continuing to bake until bubbling and crust is golden brown.