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Friday, January 27, 2012

Turkey Pot Pie mmmmm

   I made a turkey last Sunday, just about 10 pounds of bird. Yum, it was delicious. I stripped down the carcass and froze it for a future turkey soup, and made a leftover dinner with the mashed potatoes and gravy, extra stuffing, and all the rest of the trimmings. I still had a little breast meat, the 2 thighs and legs left, so I diced it all up with diced potatoes, onions, peas, fresh carrots, a new gravy, and made a homemade pie crust for the top. I do not like to make homemade pie crust, but I did it. It was okay for the topping of the pot pie, but it never would have held up as a pie crust---guess I will have to work on that some more.
  Start by peeling the potatoes and cut them into 3/4 inch cubes. For this application I usually 3/4 peel the potatoes as well--I don't like when the peels separate from the flesh and are free floating in the mix. I figure by keeping some of the skins I am not throwing all of the nutrition out...just one of my things. Toss the potato cubes into boiling salted water (1/2 teaspoon is enough--but trust me, you need SOME when boiling potatoes--yes, yes, pasta, too. Boil for about 10 minutes, just until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain them well. Set aside. Dice 1/2 of a large sweet onion--we only use sweet onions here. I like the pieces on the small size, I don't like long strands of onion in this dish. Melt 4 tablespoons butter (okay, okay, you can use margarine if you must) in a large skillet. Add the diced onion and sweat, adding diced fresh carrots in after about 5 minutes (I used 2 medium carrots--scrubbed well, not peeled). Continue to sweat the veggies until the onion is almost transparent, but do not allow to brown. You can add a stalk or two of celery, diced, along with the carrots if that's your thing--I use it in soup, otherwise I am not a fan.
   Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour into the mix, stirring constantly to prevent lumps, until the flour is completely incorporated and bubbly--(we all know this is a roux, right?) Add one tablespoon of chicken base (or two bouillon cubes or 2 packs), whisking constantly, add 2 cup of waters, and 1 cup of milk, to blend in the base. Bring to a slow boil, stirring. When the mix comes to a boil, that's how thick it will be...you can add more milk or water if it is too thick for your liking--we like it thick--stick to your ribs style.
   Toss in the potatoes, the leftover diced turkey (or chicken)--oh, anywhere from 2 cups up, and some frozen peas. Bring mix just to a boil. I add poultry seasoning, if I have it, if not I use ground thyme, rubbed sage, about a tablespoon of rosemary leaves run through the food processor, or through the fingers, and if I feel like Scarborough Fair, I add some parsley: you know, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme?
   This hot bubbling mixture is then tossed into a greased casserole dish, why greased? I don't clean up the pots and pan, so out of compassion for the one who does, I grease all my cookware, and pray the food doesn't stick too bad to make the cleanup a very difficult chore (man, do I love him). Then cover the top with a pie crust of your choice, to the edge. You can get fancy and flute the edge, if you want, but do not forget to poke about four holes in the crust toward the middle in a spoke fashion to allow steam to escape. I also put a drip pan under the casserole, for I tend to fill them to the top and when they start bubbling, well, the oven cleanup detail (I got this one) prefers less mess.
   Bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes, you are really just cooking the crust here. Remove it from the oven and let it sit about 15 minutes before you try to serve it---it is HOT!
   This one came out fabulous, even my beef and potato eating man said it was excellent. Just another touchdown! How about any of you out there? Care to share a use of leftovers from your personal cookbook?
  'Til next time. Happy cooking!

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