One week ago today, I was sprawled on the couch in a gravy-induced haze, pondering the true meaning of Thanksgiving, lamenting the end of my four day weekend, and wondering why my pants were so dang tight. Oh, right. I ate for two. No, I’m not pregnant. I think I may have two stomachs, if the amount of food I shoveled into my face over those four days is any indication. Is there surgery for that?
Another thing I contemplated while lying there in a food coma, was what to do with the massive amount of turkey we had leftover. Hubs and I brined our turkey this year, thanks to good ol’ Martha Stewart’s failsafe how-to. The turkey was a big hit at dinner, but we still managed to bring home a heaping pile of white and dark meat. Hubs could only eat so much of it in his leftover sandwiches (comprised of stuffing, turkey, mashed taters and cranberry dressing on a bun. Egads.) Supine and sleepy, I began watching my recorded cooking shows for inspiration, starting with the lovely Giada De Laurentiis.
Her show from the week before was, of course, about Thanksgiving. This year, Giada opted not to cook an entire turkey for her micro-family of three, and chose instead individual turkey pot pies for each family member. Ain’t that cute? She bestowed her usual Italian flair on the recipe by adding pancetta to the filling – which sounded great, but I’d just used all mine in making my Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving dinner. Thick cut bacon would just HAVE to do (exaggerated sigh, scoff, eye roll).
One thing I found a little lacking in her recipe – (and forgive me, Giada, for I do find you ever-so charming, spunky and exceptionally attractive) – was the absence of veggies. She has onion, of course, and a scant amount of peas and corn, but nothing else. Where are the carrots? The potatoes? The celery? The gourds? The horny goat weed? OK, I threw the last two in just to see if you were paying attention.
The shining star of her recipe is the homemade crust, which becomes the crisp, flaky crown that adorns the creamy filling of each pot pie. For an added crunch, she adds cornmeal to the dough, as well as a generous amount of parmesan cheese for richness and flavor. As I well know, there are many people out there who are as afraid of making a homemade crust as they are of meeting this guy in a dark alley. But fear not, lovelies! This crust comes together in the blink of an eye with the help of a trusty food processor. A few heaps, a few pours, a few whirrs, and it’s good to go. Promise.
When the filling comes together in all its creamy wonderfulness, it’s ladled into individual ramekins and topped with cookie-cut rounds of the cornmeal crust. Of course, I don’t expect you to go out and buy cute little ramekins just for this recipe, so feel free to use a pie pan, and lay the crust overtop as one whole piece. And don’t think this recipe is just for turkey, either. Only got chicken in the fridge? Perfect! Doesn’t make a lick – or cluck – of difference.
25 minutes in the oven for the crust to go golden and the filling to go bubbly, and it’s meal time. If your only experience with pot pie comes from the freezer section of your grocery store, then hang onto your socks, big fella. These pot pies will knock them off for sure. Enjoy!
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Turkey Pot Pie
6 bacon slices, cooked and chopped
2 Tbs. butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium potato, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 Tbs. fresh thyme
1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
1/4 c. heavy cream
3 c. cooked turkey or chicken breast, coarsely chopped
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. frozen corn
salt & pepper to taste
3/4 c. flour, plus more for dusting the board
1/4 c. cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 Tbs. butter, cubed into 1/2″ chunks
1 c. parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 c. heavy cream
3 Tbs. olive oil
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 400°.
Beginning with the crust, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse once or twice to combine. Add the butter and parmesan, and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the machine running, add the heavy cream and the olive oil. Process just until the mixture comes into a ball, adding small increments of flour if it’s too wet, or small increments of cream if it’s too dry. When the dough forms a ball, turn it out onto a lightly floured sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, form into a disc, and cool in the fridge.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the 2 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, potato, carrots and thyme to the pan. Season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until the veggies start to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Increase the heat to high, adding the chicken broth, gently scraping the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the bacon, cream, turkey (or chicken), peas and corn. Simmer for about 3 minutes, until heated through. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Using a ladle, fill the ramekins (or the pie pan) with the filling.
On a lightly floured board, turn out the chilled dough. Roll the dough into a 12″ circle, about 1/4″ thick. Using a cookie cutter, place the dough in circles on top of the ramekins, or if using a pie pan, place the dough on top of the filling, trimming as needed.
Bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
*If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe at Flickr.
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, see her Flyer Foodie author page. For more cooking, recipes, and other food-related inspiration, visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook.