The Apocalyptic Leftover Turkey Tsunami is approaching! Hide your kids! Hide your wife! Feed them leftover turkey pot pie, because you’ve gotta keep your strength up for the annual Festering Pumpkin Pie Purge you’ve got coming up!
Oh, yeah, and I guess Thanksgiving is almost here, too, so we should be thankful for stuff. Like blankets. And smallpox. And dogs.
I actually am thankful for a lot of things. But MY GOD, that shaggy beast is driving me crazy lately.
‘Get OFF the table! Do NOT bark, you may NOT have any of the turkey pot pie that I made, I am PHOTOGRAPHING it and it’s PEOPLE food, and I am saying this in a very CALM and MEASURED VOICE and not SCREAMING AT ALL!’
Maybe she is calling me a liar. She knows it’s actually chicken in there, so it’s not exactly a turkey pot pie. But gimme a break, I’m not gonna buy a whole turkey and cook it just so I can have twelve pounds of leftovers to make pot pies for you losers.
I mean ‘losers’ in its most affectionate sense.
Also, getting home in time to photograph in beautiful, natural light is a thing of the past now that we’re moving into the winter clock. So I’m trying something new and using flash for my photographs! Cool, right? So punk. It doesn’t make it look super gross at all. Not one bit. Like I care anyway.
Oh, yeah, and the pie crust is 100% whole wheat, so it’s, like, healthy. How do I make the whole total whole wheat thing work, anyway? Lots and lots of butter. Like, half of the total weight, or so.
Within this 100% whole wheat pie crust, we’ve got chunks of onion, celery, carrot, and potato, plus a metric ****ton of leftover turkey (or chicken), all nestled in a creamy gravy that smells of thyme and allspice. Damn, I’m getting hungry again. That turkey pot pie was freaking good. I’d better warm some more up. Writing is hungry work.
FOR THE NERDS
So how does leftover Thanksgiving turkey pot pie help establish a sustainable locavore cuisine for the Kansas City area, and more broadly, for the non-coastal U.S.A.?
The biggest part, and this is something that doesn’t even have to do with specific ingredients, is that regular usage of leftovers is a feature in every established world cuisine. Asia has fried rice. Europe repurposes old bread into croutons. Using the whole buffalo, so to speak, goes beyond original ingredients; it also applies to the integration of uneaten portions from previous meals.
I bet if Americans used all of their leftovers, food waste would get cut by, like, half. I don’t have any science to back me up. That’s just a guess based off of how many moldy leftovers I’ve cleaned out of the fridge in my lifetime.
In a couple of days, we are having one of the most food-focused days of the American year. Seriously, Thanksgiving is all about the food. Christmas is presents and tree, Easter is eggs; Thanksgiving is turkey. It’s all about stuffing ourselves with good food. And that’s great! The harvest feast is a super ancient tradition.
But what about the five pounds of leftover turkey? That’s what leftover Thanksgiving turkey pot pie is about. Cutting down waste by repurposing.
The 100% whole wheat pie crust is similar to my whole wheat scone recipe (link) in a lot of ways; it’s just got a little less baking powder and a lot less liquid. Oh, and way less chocolate chips. You don’t have to do any tedious cutting of fat into flour, you just melt the butter and stir it in. That’s way taboo in biscuits and pie crusts, but when you’re using all whole wheat it comes out just fine! By avoiding white flour and sugar, you make the pie crust much more of a body-healthy option than it would have been otherwise.
All of the ingredients here can be grown and raised in the Kansas City area. (Except for the allspice, and hey, I’m not against importing some small luxuries.) Between the repurposing of leftover turkey and the potential for fully local ingredients, leftover Thanksgiving turkey pot pie deserves a spot in the Kansas City Cuisine Canon.
EAT ME, NERDS. FREAKING TURKEY POT PIE!
When you’re sick of everything else, just dig in.
You already know what this tastes like, there’s no point me describing it to you.
The days are short, and Seasonal Affective Disorder is wearing you down, so you gotta give yourself something. Try this out.
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 6 small new potatoes (red-skin), diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cups cooked turkey or chicken, diced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 sticks butter, melted (1 cup total)
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- Two or three tablespoons water
- Melt the butter.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the melted butter and mix well.
- Add the orange juice and stir until just combined, the add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, potatoes, and garlic. Cover and cook till the potatoes are barely tender, about fifteen minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the flour mix until well incorporated. Add the milk, allspice, thyme, and turkey, and bring to a simmer. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Separate the dough in half. Press half of it into an 8X12 casserole pan or a deep-dish pie pan. Pour the filling into the bottom crust. Roll out the other half of the dough and lay on top of the filling, cutting away excess and pinching the crusts together. Bake until golden brown, about an hour and 15 minutes.