turkey pie

For some reason, meat in a double crust pie is a particularly French Canadian comfort food. This is my very favourite thing to do with leftover turkey.

Before starting on the turkey filling, get your pie on. You can use any two-crust pastry recipe. Or use mine, from the Joy of Cooking, here. . The pastry needs to rest for at least 30 min before you roll it out (and woe betide you if you don't let the gluten rest--the pastry will sulk and come out all patchy). Also, pastrymaking wants a cool kitchen, so it's worth doing this well before you preheat the oven. Wrap your two balls of pie dough and leave them in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 375F.

In any large pan that you favour, sauté together onions, carrots, celery, and mushrooms in butter. I use about 4 tbsp. butter, 1 onion, 3 carrots, 2 stalks of celery, and about 15 mushrooms. I chop everything coarsely, except the mushrooms -- small bite-sized mushrooms you can leave whole are best; leave them as large chunks if you can't. These are not exact proportions: use what you like and have on hand. Leeks or shallots make a nice change from the onions, and sometimes I leave out the celery in favour of celery seed.

When the onions are softened and translucent, sprinkle the contents of the pan with about 1/4 c. flour. Stir constantly as the flour cooks to form a roux. Add enough turkey broth to make a quick velouté sauce around the vegetables in the pan. For 1/4 c. flour, I use about 2-3 c. liquid. White wine and sherry (if you have bold mushrooms) or milk make a nice addition to plain broth. Meriko has more to say about roux and velouté sauces, here.

When the sauce thickens a little, add chopped leftover turkey, and any other vegetables that you might have blanched, like peas or pearl onions. Season with parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, bay, salt, and pepper (omitting any of these at will). If you are feeling decadent add some cream. Taste the creamed turkey -- if it tastes dull, try adding a little lemon juice to brighten the flavour. A few drops to one or two teaspoons of lemon is usually enough to bring it into balance. Leave the creamed turkey on low heat to simmer while you roll out your crust.

Roll out the bottom crust to fit your pan. I roll my crust on waxed paper to make it easier to turn into the pan. Turn the crust into the pan and prick the bottom with the tines of a fork to create a few vents. Dabbing your fingertips in a cup of water, moisten the rim of the crust around the edges of your pie plate. Roll out the second crust for the top of the pie.

Fill the pie with the piping hot creamed turkey and vegetables. If the sauce around the turkey and veg is looking thin, crumble a few soda crackers on top. They will vanish into the pie and add some more body to the sauce. Gently place the second crust over the pie, trim the overhanging edges, and crimp the top and bottom crusts together to seal the turkey in. Using a knife, cut v-shaped vents in the top crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake 15 min and lower the oven temperature to 350F. Bake 30 min more -- the total cooking time is about 45 min to an hour. When the pie is done, the filling will be bubbling up at the vents and the pastry will be toasty brown. Make sure that you leave it in at least 45 min to ensure that the bottom crust is cooked through.


A note on freezing -- I often freeze just the creamed turkey for later use in pies (with or without a bottom crust, in which case you have pot pie rather than pie) or with a biscuit top. You can also undercook the pie and freeze it in the shell. If you're making extra pies for the freezer, bake the pie for only about 30 min, just enough to set the pastry. To bake a frozen pie, defrost it in the fridge for about 8 hrs, and then bake for 45 min at 350.

Posted by naomi on November 27, 2005 | TrackBack
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