Tonawanda News

November 25, 2013

KEPPELER: Pot pie is perfect recycling for Thanksgiving leftovers

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — My family members are firm believers that one of the best things about hosting Thanksgiving is all those turkey leftovers.

Growing up, I’d watch my father and brother, in particular, mow through turkey sandwich after sandwich in the days after the holiday. Now that I’m cooking an annual Thanksgiving dinner myself, I can see the allure of the leftover phenomenon. Who wouldn’t like a way to keep the family fed for days out of one big meal? Especially when there are small boys a.k.a. bottomless pits around. 

But eventually all that cooked bird tucked away in the fridge looks awfully boring. One can only eat so many plates of reheated leftovers, or so many sandwiches. And next thing you know, you’re guiltily scraping that plastic container into the garbage (or pitching the whole thing because the contents look so unappetizing).

Last year I had a brainstorm: To adapt my chicken pot pie, a winter staple of ours, into a mode of Thanksgiving recycling. I say “adapt,” but it was really as simple as switching out chicken for turkey, and using whatever vegetables might have been left from the holiday meal with it.

I made three: Two for family members who couldn’t make it to the house for the holiday meal and one for my family. It was scarfed down with apparent enjoyment and no protests of “Turkey again?!”

I’ll count that as a victory.

Leftover turkey pot pie

One package refrigerated pie crusts (You can use homemade, but this is my go-to method. We’re talking convenience here, after all.)

4 tablespoons butter (I’ve found light butter/margarine works just fine.)

2 cups vegetables (I’ve used thawed frozen vegetable blends for this, as well as cooked peas, corn and/or green beans leftover from Thanksgiving. Use whatever you have on hand.)

2 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken

3 tablespoons flour

Seasoning to taste. (You can use salt or pepper, herbs or other spices. I usually use a bit of salt, pepper and a sprinkle of parsley.)

2 cups chicken (or turkey, if you can get it) broth

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Press one pie crust into the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan. I generally use a deep-dish pan, but I’ve also made this in a regular pie pan. Prick the crust bottom with a fork several times. Bake until browned, 9 minutes or so. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the vegetables and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Add turkey (or chicken) and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Sprinkle with flour and seasonings; stir until blended. Add broth, increase the heat to medium-high and cook about 3-4 more minutes, stirring, until thickened a bit.

Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie crust. Place second crust over the top, pinching the edges together with the baked crust. Cut several slits in the top.

Bake the pie about 25-30 minutes until browned. Remove from oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler.