Vancouver Sun: Some Great Ideas for Thanksgiving Leftovers
By Kasey Wilson
By some measures, the first Thanksgiving dinner I hosted as a married woman was a disaster, but it gave me a lifelong appreciation for holiday leftovers. Like my mother, I invited a houseful of rowdy relatives, but unlike her, I hadn’t mastered the organization and timing that are crucial to a successful feast.
The turkey took forever, and at about 10:30 p.m. my Uncle Brian quipped, “Were we invited to brunch?” I laughed along with my starving guests and raided the freezer for more appetizers, finding a tin of Chex Party Mix that we washed down with more cocktails. Sloshed and stuffed, we didn’t have room for much turkey when it was finally ready to carve at midnight — and I had enough leftovers to feed an army.
Today’s recipe for turkey pot pies with cheddar crusts — adapted from Betty Rosbottom’s Sunday Casseroles: Complete Comfort in One Dish (Chronicle Books, 2014) — is so good that you’ll be motivated to roast turkey more often just so you can make it. (The tender buttermilk-brined turkey breast I shared last Christmas is a great alternative to wrangling a whole bird.)
For further inspiration, consider these ideas for leftovers from top local chefs:
“Harvest turkey stew with homemade cheddar herb biscuits. Mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, gravy and turkey all go in it.” — Isabel Chung, Executive Chef, Fairmont Chateau Whistler.
• “Turkey pie paired with a green salad and cranberry dressing. Leftover cranberry sauce can be transformed into a vinaigrette simply by adding it to a blender with vinegar, fruit juices, olive oil and a touch of seasoning.” — Montgomery Lau, Executive Chef, Bacchus (Wedgewood Hotel).
• “Thick bacon, avocado, turkey and tomato on toasted sourdough with mayonnaise and cracked pepper.” — James Walt, Executive Chef, Araxi Restaurant + Oyster Bar, Whistler.
• “Turkey and vegetable soup packed with rutabaga, parsnip and carrot, spiced with fresh thyme and bay leaf. I use the turkey bones to create the stock and then add leftover turkey into the soup.” — Caitlin Mark, Restaurant Chef, H2 Rotisserie & Bar (Westin Bayshore Hotel).
• “I toss shredded turkey into tagliatelle pasta with wild mushrooms and mix into a Parmesan cream sauce.” — Frank Pabst, Executive Chef, Blue Water Café.
• “I cut a nice crispy baguette down the middle and smear leftover cranberry sauce on both sides. Then I layer on turkey meat that’s been warmed up in gravy. The stuffing goes on top. Then I bake the sandwich in the oven for eight minutes at 400F. When it comes out, use the warm gravy as a dip.” — David Robertson, Chef/Owner, Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen.
Turkey Pot pies with Cheddar Crusts
As a shortcut, you could cut the pastry rounds from purchased pie-crust disks and sprinkle the filling with grated cheddar before topping.
3 cups (750 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) grated sharp white cheddar cheese
¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter, diced ¼ cup (60 mL) cold vegetable shortening, diced
¾ tsp (1 mL) salt
¼ cup (60 mL) plus 2 tbsp. (30 mL) ice water
2 tbsp. (30 mL) butter
2 tbsp. (30 mL) canola oil
1½ cups (375 mL) diced butternut squash (½-inch dice)
¼ lb. (125 g) small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
1 cup (250 mL) button mushrooms, quartered
½ cup (125 mL) chopped shallots or onions
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
2 cups (500 mL) cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces
5 tbsp. (75 mL) butter
¼ cup (60 mL) flour
2½ (625) cups hot milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg, well beaten
Crust: Combine flour, cheddar, butter, shortening, and salt in a food processor and pulse for 15 seconds. Add ice water and process until the dough forms a loose ball, about 30 seconds. Shape dough into two equal balls, flatten, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
Filling: In a heavy frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the canola oil. Add the squash and Brussels sprouts and sauté, stirring, for three minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for three minutes more. Add the shallots, salt, and several grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are lightly browned and just tender, about two minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add the turkey.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375F. Have ready six one-cup baking dishes or ovenproof bowls and a rimmed baking sheet.
Sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisking constantly, add the flour and cook for 3 minutes. (Do not let butter brown.) Remove pan from heat. When bubbling subsides, whisk in the milk and, whisking constantly, return to low heat and simmer until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the turkey and vegetables, and toss gently to combine.
Assembly: Divide the filling evenly among the 6 baking dishes.
Roll the dough out, one disk at a time, on a floured surface to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut out a total of 6 rounds that are 2 inches larger than the baking dishes. (For example, if your dishes are 4 inches across, cut 6-inch rounds.)
Brush a ½-inch border of beaten egg around the edge of each dough round and centre it, egg side down, over a baking dish. Press the edges against the dish and make a 1-inch slit in the top.
Place the pot pies on the baking sheet, brush the tops with the remaining egg, and bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Kitchen Hack: Dough Handling
The tidiest way to prepare dough for chilling is place it in a large zip-lock bag and then shape it into a disk from the outside.
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