That’s about the extent of our festivities these days, as we’re more concerned with socializing with family than actual ball drops and huge crowds. Besides, the drive home is nonexistent … a wonderful gift when you’ve had a drink or two on the last day of the year that has been insane, to put it mildly.
But now that the holidays are officially underway, which in turn means almost over, we are inundated with leftovers. As my youngest daughter and I worked our way through the refrigerator we realized that we were up against an army of undigested edibles.
Turning leftover roasted chicken and vegetables into a scrumptious soup was the first order of the day, and I took care of that. Next, I had to decide which items I could turn into hors d’oeuvres for our small New Year’s Eve gathering and then I was left with my Thanksgiving Dinner, part Deux.
We love Thanksgiving dinner so much that we have it twice in a month’s time; the turkey, the mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, the stuffing (best my wife ever had, by the by), and the gravy. Our last serving of this mighty American feast was on Christmas day, and one would think that we would not have too many leftovers, but herein lays the quagmire.
My children resemble the three daughters in “Eat, Drink, Man, Woman,” the Chinese movie (with subtitles) about the chef in Taipei who goes to great lengths to cook for his adult daughters every Sunday. He does so only to be decimated at the table by their overly harsh criticisms of his great lacking of skill in the kitchen. Of course, down deep they appreciate his efforts, but as his children, they cannot let it show. They must remind him regularly that he has failed them.
I have that problem, so I can watch that opening scene a hundred times over and empathize completely. However, it all stops at the gravy. No one complains about the gravy. No one. In fact, in our house gravy is called “soup” and we might as well serve this meal in a bowl with the dinner slathered in this rich and unctuous, thickened broth.
We made it through Christmas dinner, and while the kids didn’t complain as much as usual (there were the typical “eww, can I have cereal” comments), we had a fair amount of leftovers nonetheless. Having sat for two days in the outside refrigerator, it was now time to move them along.
Fortunately, and this rarely happens, my beautiful wife blurted out “I’d like potpie. Can you make some potpies? They sound good, don’t they?” And I as the doting husband what would I do? Yes, I made her potpies.
It’s seldom that I get a request for food based on what we already have in-house so it was a true relief to be able to make the entire thing from what we already had in the icebox.
Working with our daughter, we made a pie dough using just butter as Julie asked for a “buttery” crust. I know that I can add half shortening and half butter, but just using all unsalted butter did the trick. I spruced the dough by adding truffle salt, and I highly recommend that you keep this on hand for days such as this. It is truly a convenient addition to many savory dishes.
In the end, I was told that it was the best potpie that my wife had ever eaten. I’ll take that on the heels of my children’s’ criticism. It’s all in a day’s work.
And now on to 2017. Good night 2016. You’ve done enough damage at this party.
Turkey Pot Pie
makes four individual pies
Double recipe of buttery pie dough
5 Tbsp. Butter
1/2 cup Diced white onion
1/2 cup Diced carrot
1/2 cup Diced celery
6 Tbsp. All-purpose flour
2/3 cup Whole milk
1 1/2 cups Turkey or chicken stock
3 cups Roasted turkey leftovers, diced
Salt, as needed
1. Preheat the oven to 425
2. In a fry pan large enough to handle all of the ingredients except for the pie dough, heat the butter
3. When sizzling, cook the onion, carrot and celery until halfway tender
4. Add the flour and cook for two minutes
5. Slowly add the water, making sure that the flour is incorporated evenly and not lumpy
6. Next, add the milk and do the same
7. Finally add the turkey and then season to taste. You can even add some pepper and truffle if you feel like it. The sky is the limit with this simple dish
8. Finally, divide the dough into eight pieces, and roll them into discs. These will serve as the tops and bottoms of your pies
9. Press a disc into a soup crock or bowl and try to get the dough as far up the sides as possible
10. Divide the filling into the four crocks and top with the remaining discs
11. Seal as well as possible and bake until golden brown and the filling is bubbling
12. Allow to cool for at least ten minutes before serving this volcano to anyone