Happy Thanksgiving!

I suspect that as many of you view this column your stomachs are full, or will be soon! Because many of us will have smaller gatherings this Thanksgiving, we will have fewer people to balutan the leftovers. So our refrigerators may soon be bulging! What are we going to do with all the leftover turkey?

After giving the matter some thought, I concluded that I could simply alter a favorite recipe for chicken pot pie. Why not replace the chicken with leftover turkey? Perfect!

As a young child growing up in Maine, chicken pot pie was a staple dinner entrée. My four siblings and I loved this meal. It was a perfect combination of wonderful flavors and textures. I think my mother really liked it because she could sneak in some vegetables without too much protest from us. A clever form of culinary psychology!

Unfortunately, I never got my mother's recipe. And, until about six months ago, I had never prepared a chicken pot pie myself. One day I stumbled across this recipe while I was searching one of my favorite baking websites, Sally's Baking Addiction. Sally's dessert recipes are the bomb!

While looking for a chocolate chip cookie recipe – a recipe that I'll share with you in the near future – I learned she also featured some main-dish recipes. Chicken pot pie was one of them.

The recipe brought back childhood memories and I wondered if my family would enjoy it as much as me, so I gave it a try. The answer was that my two sons and grandson really enjoyed the meal, rating it at 8.5 out of 10. My Palauan spouse, who prefers Asian and island-style cooking, gave it a 7. Next time I'll place a betelnut on top of his slice of pot pie and I'm sure the rating will go up to a 10!

This is a double-crusted pot pie. So, there is a pie crust on both the bottom and top of the pie. You can use either a pre-made frozen pie crust or make your own. Even if you've never made a pie crust before, if you have a food processor, you can make your own piecrust. Trust me on this! I am including the easiest homemade piecrust recipe ever! I found this one online at Sugar Spun Run.

Anyway, here it is: my (slightly tweaked) recipe for Double-Crusted Turkey Pot Pie.

Week 7: Double-Crusted Turkey Pot Pie

Ingredients

2 cups leftover turkey, cubed

1 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/3 cup unsalted butter

1 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup frozen vegetables (could be peas or corn, or whatever you prefer)

2/3 cup half & half

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon of water

1 double pie crust (homemade or frozen)

Steps

1. Prepare the pie-crust as directed (see below).

2. In a medium saucepan, pour in the 2 cups of chicken broth. Add in the turkey, carrots and celery. Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and strain (but save) the broth. Put the broth in one container and the turkey, cooked carrots and celery in another container and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, melt the butter on medium heat then add the diced onions and garlic, stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent and the butter is lightly browning. Whisk in the flour, salt, black pepper, thyme, Italian seasoning, 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth, and the half & half. Cook and whisk until no flour lumps remain, then simmer over medium-low heat until thick – about 7 to 10 minutes. Taste and add more seasoning if you wish. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 425 F or 218 C.

5. Place one pie crust into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Trim any extra overhang.

6. Pour the turkey, carrots and celery into the pie pan and top with the frozen vegetables.

7. Pour the gravy over the top.

8. Cover the pie with the second pie crust and seal the edges by crimping with a fork.

9. Beat the egg and 1 tablespoon of water together and, using a pastry brush, brush the crust and edges with egg wash.

10. Take a sharp knife and slice a few small slits into the top crust for the steam to escape.

11. Bake for 32 to 38 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

12. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

13. You can localize it by topping a slice of pie with Tabasco and/or soy sauce. Or, if you have some left over gravy from Thanksgiving, pour some on top!

The Best Easy Pie Crust (for 2 pie crusts)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 24 pieces

1/2 cup sour cream

Steps

1. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the canister of a food processor. Pulse to combine.

2. Sprinkle butter pieces over the mixture and pulse again until coarse crumbs form.

3. Add sour cream and pulse again until mixture begins to clump together.

4. Carefully (remove the blade first!) remove the dough from the food processor, divide in half, and use your hands to shape each into a ball. Flatten each slightly into a disc and wrap them separately in cling wrap. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

5. Remove chilled pie dough balls from refrigerator and transfer to a clean, lightly floured surface. Allow dough to sit for about 5 minutes and then roll each ball into a 12-inch circle, and follow the pot pie recipe.

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