Just short of making a scrapbook, I’m not entirely sure there’s a way to appropriately celebrate the feast that was Thanksgiving.
Sure there was roasted turkey…there was cornbread dressing, brown sugar mashed butternut squash, roasted brussels sprouts, green bean casserole with a mustard mascarpone cream sauce, cranberry orange chutney…
And though I may have politely squealed into my napkin when I repeatedly constructed the perfect forkful of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry orange chutney, and even though Daniel asked me kindly to refrain from dragging my tongue on his dinner plate, and even though my pre-meal version of “Grace” included a list in which the first seven things I claimed to be thankful for this year were plated on our table, and even though I considered erecting an ice luge to more efficiently guzzle cranberry sauce…
I just don’t know that these things properly portray a Thanksgiving well spent. Or well eaten, to be clear.
Freshly made caramel apple pie with streusel topping and all-butter pastry dough, served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
German chocolate pecan pie drizzled in chocolate ganache and served with a dollop of maple whipped cream.
Spiced pumpkin custard pie with homemade gingersnap crust and a top layer of cinnamon whipped cream.
Even typing them, I teetered precariously on the edge of sweet, euphoric oblivion. Imagine me yesterday.
You see, I cannot be asked to choose one dessert to prepare. It’s asking too much of me. And I’m nothing without my eccentricities and reverence for decadence. So I baked and plated three intensely rich, over-the-top, heaven-really-does-exist pies, each with their own special garnishes, and called the trio a dessert sampler.
And then I thanked myself.
And then I gave to myself.
And then I smiled.
And then I spent a solid forty minutes in heaven, hotly debating peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwiches with Elvis. He hasn’t tried Fluff, he tells me.
But then I returned to reality, turned the lights out in my kitchen, said two prayers that by morning technology would advance so wildly while I slept that I’d be able to pick up a robot to clean said kitchen in the Black Friday sales, and drifted to sleep with a semi-permanent whipped cream mustache.
And today is a new day. There’s a world of fun to be had with leftover turkey, and this turkey pot pie recipe that I’ve plastered here is my favorite, just after turkey-stuffing-cranberry sauce sandwiches.
Tender chunks of leftover turkey, sweet softened carrots, celery, onion, and green beans, swimming in a rich, creamy gravy, and nestled under a blanket of sweet, gritty cornbread. The crumbly topping serving as the perfect sponge for the flavorful sauce.
Here’s the beautiful part: the luscious sauce that lays like cashmere over the turkey and vegetables? It’s healthy, light, and wholesome. It’s made with a roux of olive oil and flour and then a streaming in of chicken or turkey stock, yielding a thick, glossy gravy. It makes a decadent, comforting dish a bit lighter than those that call for cream and butter.
And I probably don’t need to tell you, but it pairs beautifully with cranberry sauce.
Turkey Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust
Chop up a big pile of vegetables- a few carrots, a handful of green beans, an onion, and three or four celery stalks.
Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large pan set over medium-high heat. Add your vegetables and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, and reducing heat to medium after 2 minutes.
Add 2 minced cloves of garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
Sprinkle flour over the vegetables once they’re softened, stirring to coat for about one minute.
Slowly pour chicken or turkey stock into the pan, stirring constantly. The flour should begin to unclump and thicken the stock significantly within one to two minutes. Stir in thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Add chopped, cooked turkey and stir to mix all ingredients well.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Pour the creamy chicken mixture into a greased pie plate, packing it in and smoothing the top.
Now make the cornbread crust. In a medium bowl, whisk equal parts flour and cornmeal (medium grind is best) with baking powder, a touch of sugar, and a pinch of salt. In a separate, large bowl, whisk egg, milk, and oil. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just to combine.
Spread the cornbread batter evenly over the top of the filling. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Turkey Pot Pie with Cornbread Crust
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 1/2 cup green beans, trimmed and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups turkey or chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons ground thyme
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Cracked pepper
- 2-3 cups chopped, cooked turkey
- 3/4 cup white or yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
To make filling: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a pie plate (or any baking dish you like) generously with nonstick cooking spray. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and green beans, and sauté for about 10 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir until it coats the vegetables, about 30 seconds. Slowly stir in 2 cups of heated chicken or turkey stock, whisking well so that the flour begins to declump and thicken the stock. Cook mixture over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Stir in turkey, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture into your prepared pie plate and spread mixture evenly.
To make crust: In a large bowl, whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir milk, egg and canola oil until well combined in a separate bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Spoon the batter evenly over the filling. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 22 to 25 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.