The Best Leftovers From Thanksgiving - Turkey Pot Pie

The Best Leftovers From Thanksgiving - Turkey Pot Pie

My mother-in-law is an amazing cook who owned three restaurants in Chicago. Her final restaurant, named after herself, "Violet's Cafe," won awards. She is of Croatian descent and prepares all the wonderful traditional European dishes during Thanksgiving, including the American classic Roasted Turkey. We were fortunate enough to take home the leftovers from the Thanksgiving bird, and I decided to make a Turkey Pot Pie. Pie-making on my side of the family was one of our family traditions, and I have made more pies than I can count with my Hungarian grandmothers. This dish created warmth, extended the Thanksgiving holiday, and brought together family memories that Robert and I will cherish forever.

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Ingredients for the Dough

  • 1 Stick of cold butter (1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 Cup ice water (use only what is needed)
  • 1/3 Teaspoon salt

How to Make the Dough

  1. Start by measuring out the flour. If using a food processor, place the flour in the vessel with the dough blade. Another alternative is to use a mixing bowl for this process, but you will be in need of a pastry cutter for the next step.
  2. Then, cut your very cold butter into cubes. Your butter must be very cold when working with it. When the butter is cold and cut into the flour, it creates little pockets and puffs up the dough, making it light and flakey.
  3. Cutting the butter into the flour option 1: When working with your food processor, you will press the pulse button, observing the mixture until the cold butter is combined into the flour into pea-sized shapes. Option 2: If you are working with a mixing bowl and pastry cutter, you will use the tool to cut the butter into the flour manually until the butter is about the size of a pea.
  4. Slowly add your iced water into the small opening at the top of the processor or directly into the mixing bowl. Once the dough forms hold of itself, creating a ball, it is time to take it out and allow it to rest.
  5. To rest the dough, place it on a piece of plastic wrap and tightly wrap it. Place it into your refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.  By doing this, the flour will absorb all the moisture, and the butter will become cooler, making for a flaky crust.  
  6. Once rested, lightly dust your countertop and rolling pin with flour. Roll dough out evenly, starting at the center of it, and turn and flip periodically until it reaches a thinness of approximately 1/8".  Add flour if needed to prevent the dough from sticking to your counter. Once the filling is completed, roll the dough over your rolling pin and unroll it directly over your pie pan.
  7. Crimp the edges of the dough along the perimeter of the pie pan. We rolled the excess dough over itself and pinched it with our thumbs and forefinger. You can do this with a fork or any method you choose. Place the pie crust in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap until ready to bake.

Ingredients for the Filling

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil + more to brush on the crust before baking
  • 1 Small onion diced; we selected red, but any type will work, including a leek
  • 2 Celery stalks chopped
  • 2 Carrots diced
  • 1/3 Stick of butter - 3 Tablespoons
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Cups cream, half and half or whole milk
  • 1 1/2 Cups water + 2 tablespoons chicken Better than Bouillon or 1 1/2 cup poultry stock
  • 2 Cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley dried or fresh
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 3 Cups diced turkey
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation - 60 minutes Cook Time - 45 minutes Serving 8

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Begin by sautéing onions, celery, and carrots until they become fragrant.
  3. Melt butter in the center of the sauté pan.
  4. Dust the flour over the sautéed vegetable mix, and add the liquids to the pan.
  5. Add garlic to the filling mixture and cook until the liquid starts to thicken.
  6. Finally, add the dried herbs and ground pepper. Cook for one minute to hydrate the herbs. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
  7. Let the filling cool slightly, then mix in the turkey.
  8. Spoon the filling into a pie dish and roll the prepared dough over the pie pan.
  9. Cut off any excess pastry. Roll and decorate the edges. Brush with olive oil or egg wash.
  10. Bake your pie for 35 minutes or until the crust becomes golden brown.
  11. Cool slightly to firm up the filling, then enjoy your delicious turkey pie!