Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Leftovers

The holidays mean leftovers.  You can't possibly finish a ham or turkey or roast in one meal, no matter how many guests you've got for dinner.  The one exception for us is a standing rib roast:  From that we never have leftovers; we just keep eating it until it's gone.  One Christmas when my son was two, so much did he love this new food that he ate half the roast one little piece at a time.

This afternoon simmering on the stove is a pot of bean soup made with the ham bone left from Christmas Eve, and Sunday I'll be making turkey pot pie, as we're having roast turkey for New Year's Day.  I always buy a second turkey when grocery shopping for Thanksgiving--as the birds are so cheap--and put it in the freezer to save for New Year's Day.  And I always make a turkey pot pie from some of the leftovers.  Not to boast, but my pot pie is the tastiest one I've ever eaten; I know one person who prefers it to the roast turkey dinner from which it originated.

This pie serves four to six people, depending on how hungry or gluttonous they're feeling.  A couple of things regarding the liquids.  First, you can make your own broth from the turkey carcass, or you can used canned.  I've done both and, truthfully, I can't tell the difference.  Also,  you can use light cream, regular milk, reduced-fat milk, or skim.  The higher the fat content, the thicker the filling.  My husband likes it thick with cream, but I prefer it thinner with skim or reduced-fat milk.  So I trade off.  One last thing:  if you've got a recipe for pie crust you really dig, use it.  If you don't want the extra work, buy a box of Pilsbury refrigerated pie crusts.  They come two to a box;  just remember to take them out of the refrigerator before you start cooking the filling, as they need to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Turkey Pot Pie

4 Tbsp. butter (1/2 a stick)
3 carrots, diced
1 small onion, minced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup fresh turkey broth or canned turkey or chicken broth
1/2 cup milk or light cream
2 cups leftover turkey breast, cubed
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
Pastry for a two-crust nine-inch pie, rolled out and shaped into two disks

Heat the oven to 425º.  In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Add carrots, onions, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in 1/4 cup flour and cook about a minute; then gradually stir in broth and milk or cream.  Bring to a boil and cook one minute, stirring continuously.  Remove from heat, and stir in the cubed turkey and peas.

Fit one of the pastry disks into a nine-inch pie plate.  Fill with the turkey mixture.  Top with second pastry disk and crimp the edges.  Cut a few vents into the top crust.  Put pie on baking sheet, and bake about 35 minutes, until golden brown.

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