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Turkey Pot Pie

2015 update: This recipe now works two ways - one with leftover turkey and gravy, the other with only leftover turkey. Either way, it's a delicious solution for whatever Thanksgiving leftovers you've got on hand, or any time you're in the mood for a little comfort food.

Ingredients

With Leftover Gravy

2 cups leftover turkey gravy

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 carrots, diced small

2 celery stalks, diced small

1 medium yellow onion, diced medium

About 8 medium crimini (or white) mushrooms, diced medium

3 garlic cloves, diced

2 cups cooked, seasoned turkey meat (dark meat has the most flavor), chopped into small cubes

2 tsp dried sage

Kosher salt and pepper as needed

Two disks of pâte brisée, cold from the refrigerator, with flour for rolling it out.

1 egg

Without Leftover Gravy

2 cups salted turkey or chicken broth, plus a little extra just in case

5 tablespoons olive oil

4 carrots, diced small

2 celery stalks, diced small

1 medium yellow onion, diced medium

About 8 medium crimini (or white) mushrooms, diced medium

3 garlic cloves, diced

2 tablespooons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 cups cooked, seasoned turkey meat (dark meat has the most flavor), chopped into small cubes

2 tsp dried sage

Kosher salt and pepper as needed

Two disks of pâte brisée, cold from the refrigerator, with flour for rolling it out.

1 egg

Instructions:

Making the Filling

With Leftover Gravy

1. Heat the gravy in a small saucepan on the stove over medium heat, with the lid askew.  Let it get piping hot as you work, but don't let it boil. Once it’s hot, put the lid on straight and turn the heat off. 

2. While the gravy is heating, put a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium.  Add the olive oil to the pot and let it warm for a minute or two.  Add the carrots, celery and onion and sauté them in the oil for about 10 minutes, until they are soft (it’s okay if they brown a bit, but not too much).

3. Add the mushrooms and sauté them with the other vegetables for about 5 minutes, until they soften.

4. Add the garlic and stir it into the vegetable mixture until you can smell it.  Don’t let it burn; when you can smell that delicious garlic smell, it’s ready.

5. Add the turkey and sage to the pan, then pour in the warm gravy and stir to combine everything. Turn the heat to medium-high to bring everything up to temperature. When you start to see bubbles, turn the heat to medium low (so you don't burn the gravy).

6. Taste one bite. If it's not really delicious, it may need some salt, depending on whether the turkey was brined and how salty the gravy was in the first place. Try adding 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of salt, along with some pepper; stir it in and wait 5 more minutes to taste again. When it tastes so good you want to keep eating it, you're probably done. Turn off the heat and put the lid on to keep it from drying out while you roll out the pastry.

Without Leftover Gravy

1. Heat the broth in a small saucepan on the stove, medium-high, with the lid askew.  Let it get piping hot as you work.  You don’t want to let it boil.  Once it’s hot, put the lid on straight and turn the heat down as low as it will go to keep it warm until you are ready for it.

2. While the broth is heating, put a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium.  Add the olive oil to the pot and let it warm for a minute or two.  Add the carrots, celery and onion and sauté them in the oil for about 10 minutes, until they are soft (it’s okay if they brown a bit, but not too much).

3. Add the mushrooms and sauté them with the other vegetables for about 5 minutes, until they soften.

4. Add the garlic and stir it into the vegetable mixture until you can smell it.  Don’t let it burn; when you can smell that delicious garlic smell, it’s ready.

5. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture, and stir to coat everything evenly. Pour the hot broth into the vegetable mixture and stir everything together.  Turn the heat to high and let it come to a boil.  Stir in the cream.  Add the turkey and sage.  Turn the heat back to medium and stir everything together, allowing all the flavors to mix for about 5 minutes.  The whole mixture should look like a creamy soup.  If it’s too thick, add more broth or a little water (it doesn’t have to be hot).

6. Taste one bite.  If it’s not drop-dead delicious, it probably needs salt.  This will depend on whether your turkey was brined or well-seasoned, and how salty the stock or broth was that you used. Add about 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of salt, along with and some pepper. Stir it in and wait 5 more minutes to taste again.  When it tastes so good you want to keep eating it, you’re probably done. Turn off the heat and put the lid on to keep the moisture from evaporating.

Rolling the Pastry and Finishing the Dish (Both Methods)

Turkey Pot Pie made in the Adventure Kitchen.

Turkey Pot Pie made in the Adventure Kitchen.

7. Choose a 2-quart baking dish for your pie. Roll one disk of pâte brisée to roughly the same shape as your baking dish (ours was an oval).  Lay your dish upside down in the middle of the pastry – your pastry should stick out 2-3 inches wider than your baking dish on all sides.

8. When the pastry is the right size, transfer it to the bottom of your baking dish, like this:  Fold one end lightly over the other so it’s folded in half.  Again fold one end over the other, so now it’s folded into fourths.  Lift the pastry and lay it into your baking dish so that the folded corner is in the middle of the dish.  Carefully unfold it so that it’s laying evenly over your dish and hanging over on all sides.  Carefully use your knuckles to adjust the pastry and press it into the inside corners of the baking dish.  It should still hang over the sides (if not, take it out and roll it more, then try again).  Put the baking dish with the pastry in it into your refrigerator to rest while you work.

9. Roll the other disk of pâte brisée, just like the first, to roughly the same shape as your baking dish, with an extra 2 inches or so on all sides.  This will be the pastry top.  Cover a plate or cookie sheet with a piece of plastic wrap and carefully lay the pastry on the plastic.  Put it in the refrigerator to rest until you are ready for it.

10. Check to be sure the oven rack is in the middle position. Turn on your oven and preheat it to 425°.  Take the pastry-lined baking dish out of the refrigerator and set it on your clean work surface.  Carefully ladle the pie filling from the pot into the pastry.  It should come up to a bit under the top rim of your dish (if you have too much, save the rest to eat as soup!).

11.  Break the egg into a small dish and whisk it. Brush the egg over the top rim of the pastry in the baking dish, so that it can work like glue to stick the pastry top to the bottom.

Turkey Pot Pie made in the Adventure Kitchen.

Turkey Pot Pie made in the Adventure Kitchen.

12. Take the pastry top out of the refrigerator. Carefully lay it over the top of the baking dish so that an even amount of pastry hangs over all the sides. Trim the overhanging pastry so that it is hanging a bit over the edge, evenly all the way around your dish (you can save the extra to make pie crust cookies!).  Crimp the edges so they sit just inside the rim of your dish.  Brush the egg wash all over the top and edges of the pie (you won’t use all of it).  Use kitchen scissors or very clean scissors or a sharp knife to cut small, neat slits into the top crust to let steam escape while it cooks.

13. Put the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and slide it into the oven.  Bake for about 35 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned and everything is bubbling.  Your Turkey Pot Pie is ready!