cooking: what to do with a mountain of left over thanksgiving turkey?

When you have twelve pound turkey (statistically, a smaller bird), and 7 dinner guests… the result is a mountain of left over turkey.  The good news is, there’s quite a few options to re-purpose the meat of the gigantic holiday bird.

I had some frozen home-made chicken stock, and a little heavy cream left over from making dessert the night before.  I decided to make a turkey pot pie.  My first instinct was to pick up a frozen ready-to-bake pie crust from the supermarket, chop up some vegetables, make up a cream sauce, add chunks of cooked turkey and bake it.

Problem.  The frozen pastry shells at the local super market are made with vegetable shortening (ie. hydrogenated fat) which every nutritionist says is a no-no.  And more over, they are for single crust pies.   So if I want to do a double crusted pie, these prepared shells will not do the trick.

Okay.  I’ve made pie crusts in the past.  But I was never satisfied with it.  And I not recently.

Oh what the hell, let’s give it another go. Let’s call it “practice”.

Besides, I had all the ingredients needed (flour, butter, lard, salt, sugar, eggs, vinegar).

So I went ahead, and prepped enough dough for a double crusted pie.  Then chopped up some fresh vegetables, cubed up the turkey, and prepared the ingredients to make a cream sauce.

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I placed my home-made pie crusts in the refrigerator while I worked on the filling for the pot pie.  I sautéed the mushrooms, and aromatic vegetables, seasoned liberally with salt, pepper, sage, thyme, and parsley.  Added some butter and flour to the vegetables, then poured in some chicken stock to form something of a roux.  Then I mixed in the cubed turkey, and finally dumped in my heavy cream, stirring until the mixture formed a thick soupy consistency.

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Then I retrieved the pie shells from the refrigerator, poured the filling into the bottom shell, topped it with the second crust, pinched the edges, perforated the top to let the steam out, and brushed the top with a little egg white.

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I quickly tossed it in the oven let it go for 45 minutes at 400F.

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It smelled good, and it looked alright when it came out of the oven.

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The end result was… okay.  The taste of the filling was good.  The ratio was off a little.  I didn’t have quite enough filling for the size of pie plate that I used (unfortunately, it’s the only pie plate I have).  So I needed to make more filling.  And it was little on the dry side.  I needed more cream sauce.

And the crust was, well, better than it’s been the past, but still not nearly as flaky as I’d like.  Probably overworked it.

Guess I need more practice making pies.

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