Tip #3: Make double, and freeze half

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I am actually going to start with Tip 3 1/2, which is, “Make sure your puff pastry is puff pastry and not pie crust.”  I feel like this might not need much explanation.

Also, Tip 3 3/4: “Save your quart-sized yogurt containers.”

There are two of us in this household, (plus two dogs who subsist primarily on dog food). I have yet to find a perfectly sized turkey for Thanksgiving, and I am not interested in not roasting a whole turkey. We have leftovers. Loooots of leftovers. This is the best. Thing. Ever.

I should explain here that I like leftovers. Once. (Unless lasagna. Lasagna for daaaays!!) But there is often an opportunity to turn the original meal into something else, at which point I have Meal 2.0 and can eat the leftovers again. With an 11 pound turkey, we have lots of options for remakes. The turkey soup is already in the freezer, along with half of the pot pie filling that I made.

Making more than we will need for a meal and freezing it is how I deal with dinner on the nights that cooking is not on the agenda, but I am already in my pajamas. (This is where those yogurt containers come in. I don’t know about you, but buying a bajillion storage containers is not in the budget around here. Instead, I reuse sturdy containers that held something else. It makes me feel good to participate in the reduce/reuse/recycle system, too.)

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Don’t forget to label your containers! (And if you live in or are visiting the Adirondacks, head over to North Country Creamery in Keeseville to buy some of the best yogurt you will ever eat.)

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Turkey Pot Pie for 1,000
serves 4-6, twice

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups each sliced carrots AND celery
1 1/2 cups diced onion
2 cups diced potato (I used Yukon Gold; red potatoes would work equally well)
1 1/2 cups peeled and diced rutabaga
1 1/2 to 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
1 1/2 to 2 tsp each chopped fresh thyme AND sage (or 3/4-1 tsp dried)
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
salt and pepper to taste (I used approximately 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
1 quart turkey stock, divided
2 1/2 cups sliced Swiss chard or spinach
3 cups shredded cooked turkey
2 tbsp flour OR 1 tbsp cornstarch
2 sheets of puff pastry*, preferably all butter, one defrosted and rolled gently to cover the pie dish (I left ours a rectangle and draped it over. Lazy? Yup. Extra pastry? Yup.) and the other left in the package and placed in the freezer next to your leftover pot pie filling
1 egg, beaten with a splash of water

  1. In a large stockpot over medium heat melt the butter and oil. Add the carrots and celery and the next 5 ingredients (through the thyme and sage), 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tsp of salt and a 1/4 tsp of pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly and cook covered, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are mostly tender.
  2. Add the white wine, if using, stir once and cook until the wine is mostly evaporated, 3-5 minutes. Add 3 1/2 cups of the turkey stock and the Swiss chard and simmer for ten minutes, or until the vegetables are fully tender. Preheat the oven to the temperature recommended on your puff pastry package, usually between 400-425.
  3. In a measuring cup, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of broth, 1/2 tsp pepper, and flour or cornstarch. Pour broth mixture into the stockpot and stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a low boil in order to activate the thickener.** When the consistency of the filling is where you like it, lower the heat and stir in the turkey and the remaining tablespoon of parsley. Taste for seasoning and if desired add the remaining (or more) salt.
  4. Cut vent holes in the center of the puff pastry. Transfer half of the filling to a deep-dish pie plate, brush the rim of the pie plate with egg wash (to hold the pastry) and drape the puff pastry over the top, pressing gently along the rim to make sure the pastry is in contact with the egg wash. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash, and place the pie plate on a sheet pan to catch any spill-over. Place the sheet pan with the pot pie in the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, or until the puff pastry is puffed and golden.
  5. Transfer the other half of the filling to a container, let it cool with the lid off while you eat, label and lid it, and pop it in the freezer for next time! (Defrost at least overnight, or in a pinch drop the frozen filling into a saucepan with a lid and heat it low and slow on the stove until it is gently steaming. Do the same from defrosted–the filling should be warm before it goes in the pie plate.)
    *You can also use pie crust. Or gluten-free pie crust. With the cornstarch option, it makes the pot pie gluten-free. Double check the turkey stock if store-bought, though, just to be sure.
    **If the filling is too thick, add water 2 tbsp. at a time until it reaches desired consistency. If it is too thin, whisk 1 tsp flour (or 1/2 tsp cornstarch) into 2 tbsp of water, add to the filling and bring to a boil. Repeat until desired consistency.
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