Turkey Pot Pie

Before all of your turkey leftovers run out, I wanted to share this scrumptious recipe for turkey pot pie that is one of my all-time favorites. What I love about this recipe is the addition of thyme in the crust, which adds such a lovely herbaceous flavor. And that crunch fleur de sel on top! Just gets me every time.

 

This is a great recipe to feed a group, and the pie filling freezes great, if you’ve had your fill of turkey for now.

turkey-pot-pie-leftovers

chicken-pot-pie

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Turkey Pot Pie

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced thyme
  • 2 sticks cold butter, cut into large cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1 egg, plus 1 tablespoon water
  • fleur de sel

For the filling:

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups stock (chicken or turkey)
  • 2 cups shredded turkey (or chicken)
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • salt & pepper

To prepare:

  1. Start by preparing the crust. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and thyme. Add in the cubes of butter; using your hands to smash the butter into the flour, leaving large pea size chunks of butter. Then add enough ice water to the mixture so the dough just starts to hold together. Gather into a disk, wrap in plastic, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the over to 375 degrees.
  3. To prepare the pie filling, heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and saute until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes). Then sprinkle the flour over the veggies, allowing to toast in the oil for 4-5 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil so that the mixture stars to thicken. Add the turkey, corn, peas, and parsley, and season with salt & pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  4. To assemble the pies, divide the pie filling among your cooking vessels. Then roll the dough out to abut 1/8 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a knife or biscuit cutter, cut out pie tops so that the edge will extend about 1/4 inch over the rim of the individual pie cooking vessels.
  5. Prepare the egg wash by whisking together the egg and water in a small dish. Using a pastry brush, brush the outside edge of each pie topper, and place it on top of the cooking vessel, so that the egg wash is touching the rim, and press the pie topping around the edge.
  6. Brush the top of the pie pastries with the egg wash, and lightly sprinkle the fleur de sel. Using a paring knife, cut a small slit into the top center of the pie crust.
  7. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.

Make 6 small or 4 large pot pies.

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PS…any leftover cranberry sauce? Then you may want to take a peek at this recipe for Cranberry Cheese Danishes I shared over at My Cooking Spot yesterday!

 

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How to Make Gravy

My favorite part of Thanksgiving, hands down, has to be the gravy. More so, the fact that it’s completely ok to pour gravy all over your entire plate of food, and you’re allowed to do so guilt free. In fact, it’s encouraged.
 
You always hear horror stories of lumpy gravy and such, but I’ve really never encountered that issue…not that I’m some pro, but if you follow some pretty basic steps for how to make gravy, I think you’ll find it’s actually pretty easy.

hot-to-make-gravy

To make a quality gravy, you must take a step back and start with the roasting of the turkey. In the bottom of your roasting pan, you want to add aromatic veggies and herbs to start building the flavor foundation for what will later become your gravy. You can get a little bit creative here if you like, but I like to stick with the basics…1 onion, 2 carrot, 3 celery stalks, a few sprigs thyme, a bit of salt, and chicken stock (here I used 3 cups). As your turkey roasts, all of its juices will start to drip down into this pool of yumminess, and the veggies and herbs will work their magic infusing flavor.

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Once your turkey is done roasting, it will need about 30 minutes to rest so this is when you get to gravy making. You’ll want to lift your turkey out of the pan with the rack, and set it aside under a tent of foil.  Left behind in the pan will be a pool of veggie chunks mixed with the stock and drippings. This gets strained and poured into a gravy separator, like so…

gravy

The gravy separator is  an odd, but genius, contraption. As a kid, I would always see my mom using one of these things, and I wondered “what in the heck is that thing?” But after making gravy it all becomes clear. You see, all of the fat rises to the top, leaving behind the stock at the bottom. With the positioning of the spout, you are able to pour out just the stock, leaving the fat behind…and there, my friends, you have separation. But don’t throw anything out! You’ll be reuniting the fat and and stock in gravy glory shortly.

gravy-separator

Now comes the fun part. Add the fat back to your roasting pan, and place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in about half a cup of flour.  Next comes a very important step…browning the flour. I can’t stress this enough. You want to cook the flour in the fat, stirring constantly, until it gets nice and toasty. This should take about 4-5 minutes. You’ll know it’s working when you smell the most amazing toasty aroma wafting up to your nose. It’s one of my favorite smells ever.

roux

Once your flour is toasted, you can add in the stock you set aside earlier, whisking as you pour. Feel free to add additional stock here to create more gravy (store-bought is perfectly fine; homemade is even better). Everything will be very soupy at first, but once you bring it to a boil, you will see it immediately start to thicken. This is all thanks to the flour.  There is no exact timing here as far as doneness. The gravy is basically done when it gets to a thicker consistency, but not gummy.  If things get too thick, not to worry! Just add in more stock. Also, here’s when you want to taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
 
When serving gravy, it’s important to keep it as warm as possible. My mom always kept her gravy warm in a small crockpot, which is a great idea. I tend to use a gravy boat, but I warm it up in the oven first and I don’t pour the gravy in until right as dinner is being served.

plate-of-food

 
Looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration? You can find it here:

Cranberry Sauce
Grandma Blacker’s Stuffing
Blanched Green Beans
Brussels Sprouts
Herb Dinner Rolls
How to Brine a Turkey
How to Roast a Turkey
Mulled Cider

 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I can help with any of your cooking questions. And don’t forget to check back on Friday for a yummy recipe using your turkey leftovers!

 

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Cran-Orange Smoothie + a Giveaway

With the holidays approaching at a mad clip, chances are, seasonal indulgence is also coming at you with full force.  I know it is for me.  It seems like every time I turn around, there’s an excuse for holiday drinks, dinner, or sweets…and I know it’s only going to get worse (better?) as we zoom through the rest of this year.  It’s hard to do, but squeezing in some healthy eats when I can is crucial for getting me through the season. Not only does it help with much needed energy boosts, but it also helps get a head start on the necessary dieting that ensues come January.

 

Smoothies are always a great way to sneak in some healthy eats, especially this Orange and Cranberry Smoothie. Not only is it refreshing and tangy, but it’s packed full of vitamins that will help stave off those nasty winter ailments as well.

cranberry-orange-smoothie

For making this smoothie, I was excited to test drive two of Hamilton Beach’s blenders, the Smoothie Smart Blender and the Single Serve Blender. And guess what!  Those folks over at Hamilton Beach are too kind because they’re offering these blenders to you too! Two lucky readers will have the chance to win one blender each…check out the details below to enter.

oranges

Both of the blenders were excellent for smoothie making. The Smoothie Smart version blended all of my chunky, frozen fruits in a matter of seconds, and had this nifty pour spout on top.

spout

The Single Serve Blender worked great as well, and made it super easy for grab and go. This was perfect for Kevin and I because we eat breakfast at separate times. I took my smoothie when I left early for work, and he was able to make his own later.

mini-blender

 

Orange Cranberry Smoothie

 

You’ll need:

  • 8 ounces cranberry juice
  • 8 ounces milk
  • 2 oranges, peeled, sliced, and frozen
  • 1 banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)

To prepare:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.

(Divide the ingredients in half when using the single serve blender).

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Giveaway Details

Now it’s your turn to test them out! Enter for a chance to win your very own blender. There will be two random drawings. The first winner will receive the Smoothie Smart Blender, and the second winner will receive the Single Serve Blender.

Smoovember_PrizePack_3

There are a few ways to enter, such as leaving a comment or tweeting, but you must be logged into Rafflecopter for tracking purposes. You can log in below via Facebook or by entering your email address. The giveaway ends on Thursday, December 5th at 12:00am, and the winner will be contacted via email. U.S. entries only. Must be 18 years or older. Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How to Roast a Turkey

In the universe of Thanksgivingdom, there are numerous ways to cook a turkey. I’ve tried or tasted nearly every method out there…the roasted, the smoked, the slow-cooked, the deep-fried, and, in my humble opinion, there’s no single best way. It’s a matter of personal preference, ambition level, and what you can accomplish with the resources on hand.  I tend to be a roaster…so I wanted to share my preferred recipe and process for how to roast a turkey.

citrus-herb-turkey

My version of roasted turkey starts with bright citrus and a medley of herbs that are stuffed inside the bird’s cavity, ensuring those mellow flavors start infusing the turkey from the inside out.

herbs

Next comes a vey generous slathering of herb butter smeared all over the bird’s exterios. Not only does this provide a smack of frangrant flavor, but it also gives the skin that deep golden glow.

herb-butter

Adding a base of aromatics and chicken stock to your roasting plan will result in awesome gravy later.

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Citrus Herb Turkey

You’ll need:

  • 1 turkey (preferably brined)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt

For stuffing the turkey:

  • 1 orange, cut into large chunks
  • 1 lemon, cut into large chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 5 sprigs of rosemary
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 10 sage leaves

For the butter spread:

  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 2 tablepoons minced rosemary
  • 2 tablepoons minced sage
  • 2 tablepoons minced thyme
  • 1 tablespoon salt

To prepare:

  1. About 30-60 minutes before cooking, remove the turkey from the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, and arrange your oven rack so that it’s on the bottom third of your oven.
  3. Add the chopped onion, celery, carrot, three sprigs of thyme, and the chicken stock to the bottom of a roasting pan. Then set a roasting rack on top.
  4. Season the inside of the turkey’s cavity with salt. Then stuff the oranges, lemon, onion, and herbs inside. Criss cross the legs and tightly secure with kitchen twine.
  5. Mix together the minced herbs, salt and butter; set aside half of the mixture to use later. Spread the remaining butter all over the outside of the turkey, making sure to get inside all of the nooks and crannies.
  6. Place the turkey on the roasting rack, and start by cooking it for 40 minutes at 450 degrees to sear the outside. Once the outside looks crispy, lower the heat to 350 degrees to finish cooking.
  7. Using a pastry brush, brush on additional layers of herb butter 2-3 times throughout the cooking process.
  8. Cooking time will depend on the size of your turkey, but factor in around 15 minutes per pound. Start checking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer after about 2½ hours. The turkey is done when the temperature of the breast meat registers at 160 degrees.
  9. When done, remove the turky from the oven, cover it with a tent of foil, and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

 

(Hold onto the veggies and drippings in the bottom of the pan…gravy recipe coming up next!)

carved-turkey

Looking for more Thanksgiving inspiration? You can find it here:

Cranberry Sauce

Grandma Blacker’s Stuffing

Blanched Green Beans

Brussels Sprouts

Foolproof Mashed Potatoes

Herb Dinner Rolls

How to Brine a Turkey

How to Make Gravy

Mulled Cider

 

PS…how to carve a turkey!

 

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