Thanksgiving dinner usually centers around a whole, roasted turkey and the side dishes that accompany the bird. A whole turkey is a great thing to serve when you have a big crowd to feed, but if you have a smaller group, a whole bird can present some problems. First, it is fairly time consuming to make if you only need to serve two or four people for the holiday. Second, a big bird creates lots of leftovers and a person can only eat so many turkey sandwiches, no matter how delicious they may be. One dish that solves both of these problems is my mouthwateringly delicious Turkey Pot Pie. It’s the perfect thing to serve when you want comfort food for just one or two people, or if you have a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers that you want to put to good use.
The pie is filled with a creamy mixture of shredded turkey, onions, celery, carrots and peas, seasoned simply with dried thyme, salt and pepper. These flavors all meld together beautifully for a dish that is loaded with flavor, yet also uncomplicated. What makes this pot pie truly delicious is the buttery pie crust on top of the filling. I always use a homemade crust and sprinkle an extra pinch of salt over the top just before baking to give it that extra touch of savoriness that makes each serving so addictive.
The homemade crust can be made by hand or in the food processor. While you can use a storebought crust or even a sheet of puff pastry, this is one recipe where a from-scratch crust really makes a difference. Fortunately, rolling out the dough and fitting it over the top of the pie is very straightforward and much easier than lining a regular pie pan, meaning that even those of you who might be apprehensive about working with homemade dough can feel confident giving this recipe a try.
Of course, you don’t need to wait for Thanksgiving to make this comforting dish. You can pick up a turkey breast at many markets year-round and a large one will yield enough meat for a generously filled pot pie. One of my local grocery stores also roasts up turkey breasts, along with whole chickens, on a regular basis and those are a good option for a quick pot pie starter. You can also substitute in chicken if turkey is unavailable. The pie is at it is best when it is freshly baked, but the leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 1-2 days and can be reheated in the microwave or in the oven before serving.
Turkey Pot Pie
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cups diced onion
1 1/4 cups diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk (skim, low fat or whole)
1 tsp dried thyme
3 – 3 1/2 cups shredded cooked turkey
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
salt and pepper, to taste
1 recipe for pie crust dough (below) or large sheet of puff pastry, chilled
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large, deep skillet, combine oil, onions, carrots, and celery, and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring continuously, for one minute to cook out some of the flour flavor. Stir in chicken stock and milk. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, or until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat. Add in the turkey meat, peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour filling carefully into a 9 or 10-inch deep dish pie plate.
Take chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is large enough to cover the top of the pie plate. Cover filling with pie, pressing it down around the edges of the pie plate and cutting 4-5 slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until filling is bubbly and the pie crust is deep golden brown.
Let pie sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.
Single Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
4-6 tbsp cold water
Stir together flour and salt in a medium bowl (or pulse in food processor). Add in butter and rub it into the flour mixture with your fingertips, forming pieces no larger than a pea (or pulse in food processor). Stir in 4 tbsp cold water with a fork, letting the dough come together. Add additional water until dough forms a rough ball (if it is very dry, you can add more water than directed in the recipe above; the amount can vary depending on the weather!). Wrap dough in plastic wrap, press down into a disc and chill until ready to use.