Last week, we got an email from a reader named Claire that I know a lot of us can relate to…
She wrote: “With the holidays approaching, I know my traditions are shifting for this year. My family won’t be able to visit, which I’m sad about, but in an attempt to make the most of the situation, I am going to try my Thanksgiving dream meal: turkey pot pies! Why not put the whole meal into one tasty pie to consume?”
Her only problem? “I have no recipe.”
We can definitely help with that, Claire! Almost everyone I know is hosting an intimate, smaller-scale feast this year — whether that means roasting a 4-pound chicken instead of a 20-pound heirloom turkey or takeout from a favorite restaurant they want to support — but that doesn’t mean we aren’t craving something a little special to eat while we give thanks. I really love the idea of Pot Pie at the center of a family table — rounded out with a favorite Brussels sprouts dish (this or this) and cranberry sauce (two options; one fresh, one cooked) and, yes, you’ve got yourself a dream meal.
Two things to consider with the recipe I came up with: First, this might be controversial, but I tested the pot pie twice in the past three days: Once with roast turkey breast and once with meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. The turkey version was definitely delicious, but I very much preferred the chicken version — turkey breast, as we all know, can veer towards dry, even when submerged in creamy pot pie sauce. If, for you, it’s not Thanksgiving without turkey, you might want to use a mix of turkey breast and dark meat. Second, remember that puff pastry takes about 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator to thaw, so plan accordingly.
Turkey Pot Pie
Makes 4 generous servings or 6 medium servings
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped into large chunks
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots (from about 2-3 medium carrots)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (from 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 1/2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
3/4 cup milk (any kind, preferably whole)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cups shredded cooked roast turkey breast (look for a 2-pound split, skin-on boneless breast if you are roasting yourself) or chicken (don’t forget to chop up that crispy skin, too!)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 store bought puff pastry, such as Dufour brand, rolled out gently on a floured surface, to the approximate size it would take to drape over your baking dish by about 1 inch all around
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add the butter and olive oil to a large pot or Dutch Oven set over medium heat, then add the onion, celery, carrots, thyme leaves, a generous amount of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until onions have browned slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes, and add the broth. (Vegetables should just barely be submerged.) Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, until the potatoes are mostly tender — they’ll cook more in the oven.
While the vegetables are simmering, in a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the milk and flour. Slowly add the flour–milk mixture, along with Worcestershire sauce, to the pot, and turn up the heat to medium. Stir and cook until the filling gets bubbly and thickened. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chicken and peas.
Add the pot pie filling to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan on top of the filling and cover with the puff pastry, making sure there is a little bit of overhang on all sides. (You don’t have to crimp it.) Cut 6 to 8 slits on the top to allow the steam to escape while baking. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly (and gently) paint the surface with the egg wash, which will result in that gorgeous golden sheen.
Place the pie in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes, but keep an eye on that pie! If the top darkens before 20 minutes, cover loosely with foil (don’t wrap it, just place loosely on top). Bake until the pastry is puffy and golden and the filling is bubbling through the slits. It should look big and puffy all around the perimeter, all the more dramatic for presenting! The middle might collapse a little, but that’s ok.
Photos by Yossy Arefi for Cup of Jo