Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey Pies

One of my favorite post-holiday pastimes is figuring out what to do with the leftovers. I know I am the coolest woman alive. Seriously, though, when you spend a ton of time cooking a great meal, the last thing you want to do is watch it all rot in the refrigerator. In the spirit of cool people who love leftover cooking, I thought I would share some ideas this week.

The most obvious, but certainly one of the best uses for Thanksgiving leftovers: The Thanksgiving sandwich. Turkey, mayo, stuffing, lettuce and cranberry sauce. I like Swiss cheese on it too. A sandwich that uses another bread product as a filling - what could be more emblematic of the indulgences of the holidays?

I also love to make turkey pot pie in the week after Thanksgiving. Here is a really easy recipe that will yield great results. If you have a lot of turkey, I would recommend doubling the recipe and freezing a pie for later. You will be glad you have it on some cold winter night when you really don't feel like cooking.

-In a large sauce pan, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter and/or olive oil.
-Add to the pot one small onion chopped, about 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, and 1 medium potato peeled and cubed.
-After they have cooked down a bit add 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables. I usually use the peas/carrots/corn/beans mix, but any variety will work. If you don't have frozen veggies on hand you can, of course, use fresh vegetables. I really like peas and carrots in my pot pie. The corn gives it a nice sweetness, too. But you should use whatever you have and you like.
-When the vegetables have cooked enough for everything to get warm again, add 2 tbsp of flour. Stir the flour in to coat all of the veggies.
-Add about 2 cups of milk. I often use some half and half as well. (Because after eating a bazillion calories a day last weekend, I don't want to come back to reality all at once.)
-Stir it all up. The milk should thicken up as it heats up. If you think it is getting too thick, just add more milk or some chicken stock.
-Pour the filling into a pie dish and top with a pie crust, home made or store bought. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes or until the crust is browned.

When I was making my pie yesterday, I was hit with a moment of inspiration. What if I topped the pie with mashed potatoes instead of a crust? It would be like turkey shepherds pie. But it would need another name since shepherds herd sheep or cattle, not turkeys. Hmmm...What is the poultry equivalent of a shepherd? Farmer, I guess.

So here is what a mini Farmer's pie looks like. I just used the turkey pot pie filling, put a cup or so in a ramekin,  topped with leftover mashed potatoes and browned it under the broiler for a few minutes. Oh my, it was so good. Give these pies a shot. You wont be disappointed.

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