My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is leftovers. In fact, for several years when my family had gone as guests to someone else’s house for the holiday, my sister and I would make a second Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. It worked out well because our neighbors worked on Thanksgiving. With a bonus round on Friday, they got to celebrate the holiday, and we got to have their company and all the leftovers we wanted (with the food exactly as we like it: traditional herb stuffing, gallons of gravy, multiple pies…oh, and turkey, too).
I love a good turkey sandwich with stuffing, gravy, cranberry, and mayo all crammed in some good bread. But I can only eat so many of those. For dinner on the Friday or Saturday following Thanksgiving, it’s got to be turkey pot pie, using as many different leftovers as I can without turning it into a meat trifle (remember that episode of Friends?). Turkey pot pie is the leftover dish I crave most, even more than pie for breakfast.
Basically, I make a modified version of my mashed potato-topped chicken pot pie, where half of the work is already done. It goes like this:
1. Saute onions, celery and carrots. [Dish-saving tip: Use an oven-safe pan that can hold the whole finished dish, e.g., a low-sided Dutch oven or cast iron pan.]
2. While the veggies are cooking, cube, shred or grind some turkey meat (about 2 cups).
3. Make the sauce: Push the veggies to the side, drop in the butter and flour and cook 1 minute. Add some leftover gravy (whatever you can spare), milk and broth (reducing the amount of broth by the amount of gravy you used). Whisk and cook until bubbling.
4. Toss in the sausage, turkey and peas (frozen or leftover) with the veggies. Stir to combine, and drop in some small chunks of stuffing (this takes the place of the sausage, as both provide herby goodness). Heat through until bubbling again.
5. While the filling is heating, get out your mashed potatoes (3 cups or so). Add some milk or broth to thin the potatoes out so they spread more easily.
6. If your pot pie filling is in an oven-safe pan, simply spread the potatoes on the top of the hot mixture. If not, pour the filling into a baking dish and then top with potatoes. Dollop with butter and finish in a 350-degree oven until the potatoes have turned a bit golden and the filling is bubbling around the edges. Serve, and save room for pie!
This is just a quick rundown of the process. For more detailed instructions and measurements, check out the original post for mashed potato-topped chicken pot pie and make the needed adjustments.
And don’t forget to save those turkey bones for making broth. It works the same way as chicken broth (find directions here), you just may need a larger slow cooker or stockpot (or a large sharp knife to break down the carcass to fit what you’ve got).
What are your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers? Do you have a special way of transforming turkey, stuffing, gravy and the works? Drop me a comment and share your ideas.