Thanksgiving leftover recipe: Mother-in-law-still-here Turkey Pot Pie
TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — Seriously? You’re cooking again after last week’s 79-hour marathon in the kitchen? You haven’t even finished washing the Thanksgiving dishes yet, and you would probably throw them out with the recyclables except your mother-in-law is still visiting and you know she goes through the trash.
Your husband thinks you are imagining things, but who else would have put that empty box of Shake-n-Bake (the secret ingredient to your chicken cordon bleu) under your pillow? Not the tooth fairy, that’s for sure. Unless it is the long-in-the-tooth fairy.
So mommy-in-law dearest is on your couch for a few more days, watching her soaps (they still show them?) and the couch has a great view of the kitchen, so, yes, you are making a turkey pot pie with the holiday leftovers.
I am going to try and go easy on you with this recipe. Not as easy as, say, buying one of the pre-mades from Costco (excellent!) because, well, your husband’s mother is a Dumpster diver and will find the packaging.
However, the crusts, usually the hardest part, will be straight out of the cold case at your local grocer. And when Nana asks why you used a store-bought crust, tell her you have never been able to duplicate her recipe and turn up the volume on “Days of Our Lives.”
That show, like your mother-in-law, will never change.
1 box refrigerated Pillsbury pie crusts, there are two crusts in the box.
1 nine-inch pie pan
2 cups prepared Better Than Bouillon Chicken (miracle product. Best broth ever.)
1 potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 carrots, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
2 stalks celery, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 heaping tbls. Italian seasoning
1.5 sticks butter
1/2 cup flour
Wondra on hand for a thickening emergency
3/4 cups half-and-half or cream
1/4 tsp. white pepper
dash of nutmeg
2 cups cooked, cubed turkey meat
3/4 cup frozen vegetable combo — one with corn, green beans, peas and carrots. No need to cook them.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In 2-quart sauce pan combine potato, carrots, celery and onions with your half a stick of butter and cook over medium heat until all are coated.
Next, add some of your chicken broth, just enough to cover the vegetables, and the Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and carrots are getting soft. This should take about 20 minutes. You do not need to stir it the entire time. Your goal is to soften them up.
Remove from heat, drain and set aside on different plate. You will need that large pan again. Return pan to stove and melt 1 stick butter over medium heat. To melted butter whisk in your flour, a little at a time. It will be a clump, but that’s OK.
Reduce heat a bit and add your cream to this butter/flour mixture, or rue, whisking in a little bit at a time. Add chicken broth in same way. You want to keep this sauce thickening as you add the liquid, so just add, heat, let it thicken, stir in more broth or cream, until you have used all of the cream and chicken bouillon.
If it doesn’t seem thick enough, sprinkle in a little Wondra and whisk until thick and blended. I don’t care if this is cheating. Wondra is the bomb. Try a little dab of sauce on your finger. If you feel it is not flavorful enough, put about 1/2 tsp of the Better Than Bouillon paste right in the mixture and whisk in.
Next flavor this with pepper and nutmeg. Gently stir in potato, celery etc, mixture. Then gently stir in your frozen vegetables. Lastly, gently stir in your turkey. Pour all into pie pan lined with bottom crust. Top with top crust and seal edges using the dull end of a bread knife, or your fingers.
Cut a couple one-inch slits in the top of the crust. Bake 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let sit for about 15 minutes before you cut and serve. Very good re-heated and served the next day.
Simone Grandmain is an internationally published travel and food writer who currently calls Truckee-Tahoe home. She welcomes your recipes, kitchen “must-haves” and food news at firstname.lastname@example.org.