November 26, 2012

Leftover Turkey Pie

Thanksgiving yields a bounty of leftovers -- no matter how big or small your gathering is, it always seems like there's at least some extra turkey in the end. 

I make two things incredibly well -- my potato salad and real chicken pot-pie. When in doubt, I make and bring either of these two items to pot-lucks or I make them for guests. People have different ideas of pot-pie though.

I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country, and the first time I ordered pot-pie in a local restaurant, I looked up from the floating noodles in dismay. My mother must have seen my face, because she calmly explained to me that this was not pot-pie. 

My Chicago-born parents made it clear for me at a very young age that chicken pot-pie has a crust. As the floating noodles were not encased in either a top or bottom crust, it would stand to reason that I never ordered that version of the dish again (although I did finally yield to hometown tradition... and I learned to make the PA Dutch version. It's not bad, but I still don't think they should have called it pot-pie. It's more like chicken noodle soup with chunks of potatoes.) 

Pot-pie to me is pure comfort food, all in one dish. The standard recipe I use calls for carrots, celery and onions, all tossed with chicken broth, milk and a little flour. The recipe also calls for peas, but as the Sailor can't stand them, I always omit them, even when he's not home. This time, I added some leftover spinach that has been staring at me from the fridge for the past few days. And of course, instead of chicken, I used the turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving. Flaky pastry dough tops off the pie. (I'd love to use a bottom crust, but considering the amount of butter that goes into the dough, I usually just put a top on the pie.)

There is no photo of the finished pie because let's face it, it never lasts long around here. 

I still had tons of both white and pumpernickel bread leftover from the stuffing I made last week though, so I decided to make croutons with them while the oven was still warm. The pumpernickel took forever to dry out, and I'm not convinced the cubes are fully dry. They are however, delightful while they are still warm, with a few chunks of cheese. 

(Never mind those mini pumpkins -- they're another leftover on the list...)

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