Dad’s Leftover Turkey Pot Pie: A Comforting Family Tradition

Leftover turkey pot pie is a beloved comfort food that transforms Thanksgiving or holiday leftovers into a warm, hearty meal. This dish combines tender turkey, flavorful vegetables, and a rich, creamy sauce, all encased in a flaky, golden crust. It’s a perfect way to utilize leftovers while creating a dish that the entire family will enjoy. In this article, we’ll delve into the history of pot pie, essential ingredients, a step-by-step recipe, variations, and tips for crafting the perfect pot pie.

The History of Pot Pie

Pot pie has a rich history that dates back to the Roman Empire. The Romans made a variety of savory pies, often using meats like chicken or rabbit. These early pies were encased in a pastry shell, which served as a vessel for cooking and preserving the filling. The concept of pot pie spread throughout Europe, with each region developing its own variations.

Advertisement

In America, pot pie became a staple dish in the 19th century. Early settlers adapted the recipes to include locally available ingredients. The Pennsylvania Dutch, for instance, are known for their chicken pot pie, which is more like a stew with a thick, biscuit-like crust. Today, pot pie remains a popular comfort food, especially during the colder months and after large holiday meals.

Essential Ingredients for Dad’s Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

Creating the perfect turkey pot pie requires high-quality ingredients that enhance the flavors and textures of the dish. Here are the key components:

Advertisement

For the Crust:

  1. All-Purpose Flour: Provides the structure for the crust.
  2. Unsalted Butter: Adds richness and flakiness.
  3. Salt: Enhances the overall flavor.
  4. Cold Water: Helps bind the dough together.

For the Filling:

Advertisement
  1. Leftover Turkey: The star ingredient, providing tender, flavorful meat.
  2. Vegetables: A mix of onions, carrots, celery, peas, and corn adds color and texture.
  3. Butter: Adds richness and helps create the roux.
  4. All-Purpose Flour: Thickens the sauce.
  5. Chicken or Turkey Broth: Forms the base of the creamy sauce.
  6. Heavy Cream: Adds richness and creaminess to the filling.
  7. Herbs and Spices: A blend of thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper enhances the flavor.
  8. Egg Wash: An egg mixed with water for brushing the crust, giving it a golden brown finish.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Dad’s Leftover Turkey Pot Pie

Follow this detailed guide to create a delicious turkey pot pie that will become a family favorite.

1. Prepare the Pie Crust

Ingredients:

Advertisement
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 6-8 tablespoons ice water

Instructions:

  1. Mix the Dry Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt.
  2. Cut in the Butter: Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces of butter.
  3. Add Water: Gradually add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. It should be slightly crumbly but hold together when pressed.
  4. Chill the Dough: Form the dough into two disks, wrap them in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Prepare the Turkey Filling

Ingredients:

Advertisement
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups cooked turkey, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Cook the Vegetables: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the Flour: Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes to form a roux.
  4. Add Broth and Cream: Gradually whisk in the chicken or turkey broth and heavy cream. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Add Turkey and Seasonings: Stir in the cooked turkey, peas, corn, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
3. Assemble the Pot Pie

Instructions:

Advertisement
  1. Roll Out the Dough: On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to fit a 9-inch pie dish. Transfer the dough to the dish, pressing it gently into the bottom and sides. Trim any excess dough.
  2. Add the Filling: Pour the turkey filling into the prepared crust, spreading it evenly.
  3. Top with Second Crust: Roll out the second disk of dough and place it over the filling. Trim any excess dough and crimp the edges to seal.
  4. Add Vents: Cut a few small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
  5. Brush with Egg Wash: In a small bowl, beat an egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash over the top crust for a golden finish.
4. Bake the Pot Pie

Instructions:

  1. Bake: Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips, and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.
  2. Cool: Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the filling to set.

Tips for Perfect Turkey Pot Pie

  1. Use Cold Ingredients for the Crust: Keeping the butter and water cold ensures a flaky crust.
  2. Don’t Overmix the Dough: Overmixing can result in a tough crust. Mix until the ingredients just come together.
  3. Add Herbs to the Crust: For extra flavor, add a teaspoon of dried herbs like thyme or rosemary to the crust dough.
  4. Taste the Filling: Adjust the seasoning to your preference before adding the filling to the crust.
  5. Prevent Soggy Crust: To prevent a soggy bottom crust, you can partially blind bake the bottom crust before adding the filling.

Variations of Turkey Pot Pie

While the classic turkey pot pie is delicious on its own, you can experiment with different variations to add unique flavors and textures.

Advertisement

1. Cheesy Turkey Pot Pie: Add 1 cup of shredded cheese, such as cheddar or mozzarella, to the filling for a creamy, cheesy twist. 2. Curry Turkey Pot Pie: Add 1 tablespoon of curry powder to the filling for a flavorful, spicy variation. 3. Herb Crust: Add fresh or dried herbs to the pie crust dough for an extra layer of flavor. 4. Gluten-Free Turkey Pot Pie: Use a gluten-free flour blend for the crust and filling to make a gluten-free version of the pie. 5. Vegetable-Heavy Turkey Pot Pie: Increase the amount of vegetables and reduce the amount of turkey for a lighter, veggie-packed pot pie.

Serving Suggestions

Turkey pot pie is versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways:

Advertisement

1. Salad: Serve a slice of pot pie with a fresh green salad for a balanced meal. 2. Bread: Pair the pot pie with crusty bread or dinner rolls to soak up the delicious filling. 3. Wine: A glass of white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, complements the creamy filling. 4. Cranberry Sauce: Add a spoonful of leftover cranberry sauce on the side for a sweet-tart contrast. 5. Mashed Potatoes: Serve the pot pie with a side of mashed potatoes for an extra comforting meal.

Storing and Reheating

Turkey pot pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place a slice in the microwave for about 2 minutes or warm the entire pie in a 350°F (175°C) oven for 15-20 minutes. For longer storage, you can freeze the pot pie for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen, bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 60-75 minutes, or until heated through.

Advertisement

Conclusion

Dad’s leftover turkey pot pie is a timeless dish that transforms holiday leftovers into a comforting, satisfying meal. Its combination of tender turkey, flavorful vegetables, creamy sauce, and flaky crust makes it a favorite for families everywhere. By following the detailed instructions and tips provided in this article, you can create a delicious turkey pot pie that will become a cherished part of your family’s culinary traditions.

Whether you stick to the classic recipe or experiment with variations, the key to a successful turkey pot pie lies in using high-quality ingredients and mastering the techniques for creating a perfect crust and filling. So, gather your leftover turkey and vegetables, and embark on a culinary journey to create a dish that embodies the warmth and flavor of homemade comfort food. Happy cooking!

Advertisement

Leave a Comment