The Thanksgiving feast you painstakingly prepared for is now over. Personalized calligraphy name cards adorned with tiny gold pinecones and sprigs of rosemary have been littered across the table, a once piping hot perfect turkey has only half a bronzed thigh to glow about, and your flawlessly weaved lattice-topped apple pie resembles something closer to a mass of cockeyed Band-Aids after the kids table was finished with it. Everyone’s bellies are filled to the tippy top, naps have commenced thanks to our turkey-induced comas and piles of dishes laden with leftover dressing are waiting for us at the kitchen sink. Just as quick as it began, dinner is now over, and the only evidence of your Thanksgiving meal is an inordinate amount of leftovers in your fridge.
Plastic containers filled to the brim with green bean casserole, Tupperware tubs jam-packed with macaroni and cheese, and gallon-sized Ziploc bags stuffed with leftover turkey meat take up prime real estate in your refrigerator. By now, you are looking for creative ways to use up the rest of the leftovers. Behold: Rustic Turkey Potpie. This dish not only allows you to transform your beloved brined, buttered and baked turkey but also uses up any leftover vegetables that are on the brink of being tossed. After making this dish, you will have a happy, full family and a clean fridge. That’s something truly to be thankful for.
Recipe: Rustic Turkey Potpie
Note: Potpie is a Southern classic, but, honestly, hasn’t been a favorite of mine. Doughy, cloying and heavy would describe most of my potpie experiences. This one is packed with tender meat, vibrant vegetables, and, of course, a little white cheddar and thyme leaves peaking through the golden puff pastry. Lovely!
You could use roasted chicken for this recipe if you don’t have leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Also, this potpie isn’t bogged down by liquid and is served with gravy, so people can have as much moisture in their potpie as they like!
2 slices of bacon
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium sized potato, peeled and diced
3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only, plus more for adding to pastry
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 medium sized carrots, chopped
1 medium sized onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ cup peas, fresh or frozen
3-3 ½ cups leftover turkey meat (white or dark), hand torn into bite-sized pieces
1 heaping tablespoon of all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups of low sodium chicken stock
¼ cup sour cream
½ package of puff pastry, thawed
¼ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 400o F
In a large skillet over medium heat, crisp the bacon until golden brown. Set the crispy bacon to the side. Add butter to the pan with the bacon drippings. Toss in the diced potato, fresh thyme and red pepper flakes, making sure to scrape up any bits left over from the bacon. Allow the potato to cook for a few minutes, and then toss in the carrots. After the potatoes and carrots have cooked a few more minutes, toss in the onions and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper. Allow the vegetables to cook for another 10 minutes, about 20-25 minutes total, or until all of the vegetables still have a bite yet slightly tender (the vegetables will continue to cook in the oven later.) Toss in the peas with the rest of the tender vegetables.
Add the turkey and the flour to the vegetables. Mix to combine. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil, the mixture will thicken slightly. Take the skillet off the heat and add the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain in a large sieve with a bowl underneath to catch all the lovely gravy while preparing the puff pastry.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Roll out thawed puff pastry into a rectangle. Scatter cheese and remaining thyme leaves over half the pastry and fold remaining pastry over the cheese and thyme filling. Continue rolling out the pastry until it is large enough to cover a 10” skillet.
Place the strained filling into a 10” skillet. Scatter the remaining crispy bacon on top of the filling. Place rolled pastry on top of the filling. Crimp the edges slightly, but don’t worry too much about the aesthetics of the pastry too much! This is a rustic potpie.
Create a slit on the top of the pastry for the steam to escape and brush with the slightly beaten egg. Bake in a 400o F oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffy. Serve with the reserved gravy.