Black Friday Pot Pie 2020

All I care about on Thanksgiving is having turkey pot pie on Black Friday…or Cyber Monday if I don’t get around to it right away. Whether I’m at home or cooking at the restaurant, I always make (and eat) a pot pie from leftover Thanksgiving turkey.

If you plan your Thanksgiving meal right, you can have the filling and the topping assembled and baked in under an hour. Start by making an extra pie crust when you make your dessert pies. As long as you’re making a mess of the kitchen anyway, you may as well roll it out right then and there, and store it in the fridge on a tray or a plate until you’re ready for it. Then plan some sides you can use for the filling.

Because it’s just me and DP this year, we skipped the usual stuffing and sweet potato and focused on sides for pot pie. I have slow braised sauerkraut, sautéed cremini mushrooms, and baby turnips with peas ready to go. All I need to do is heat and thicken some turkey broth, and add a little cream to balance the sauerkraut. The wheat pastry topping is already going to cause DP and me some discomfort (a sacrifice I’m willing to make for the holidays) so we’re using rice flour to thicken the gravy. I find I don’t need much thickener because the cabbage is pretty bulky, and also keeps the filling moist without being too runny. So the leftovers get heated in the gravy, the filling goes into the dish, the dish gets topped with the chilled pastry, that pastry gets brushed with egg wash, and the whole thing gets baked for 25-35 minutes at 375 F.

My post-Thanksgiving pot pies are never the same. This year, the tender slow braised sauerkraut made the filling surprisingly rich and delicious. So don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to the just onions, carrots, celery and peas. Any sturdy vegetable will work as long as it’s a flavor you’re going to want in your pie. Try adding mushrooms and marsala wine, or go a la King and add some sweet bell peppers or pimentos. Have some okra in the freezer? Throw that in and make it like gumbo. Carrots, celery, buffalo sauce and cheese? Curry powder, ginger, garlic, caramelized onions, potatoes, and peas? I could go on, but there’s pot pie to eat.

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