Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Turkey Pot Pie

Quick! The vegetables are going off! Um, ahem. I mean, let's make pot pie.

What happens when three roommates collaborate on shopping without actually communicating? A buildup of half-used containers of vegetables. Things get overlooked, forgotten, and slowly continue the process of returning to the earth in the confines of the fridge. This moment calls for drastic action with the help of some ever-stalwart onions, potatoes, and pie crust.

Here's a sneak peek:

And here's the starting lineup:

Pictured here are potatoes, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, and onions. I don't really have amounts for this recipe. I used two medium onions, and as for the rest of the vegetables, a nice heaping double-handful of each should suffice. I am particularly disposed toward onions, so they made up the bulk of the filling (not counting the turkey). But really, whatever leftover veggies there are in the fridge should be good for this, so long as they get sliced/chopped/machetéed into pieces that don't necessitate long cooking time.

Next step: Sauté.

Everything that tastes better slightly browned goes into hot olive oil. Mushrooms, onions, and carrots were my choices. The pie is going to be baked, which means these guys will be twice-cooked. Broccoli and potatoes would go a bit mushy, so I left them out. By the way, have I mentioned that I love the smell of frying onions more than any other cooking smell? Well now you know. One day when I finish my "Ode to Allium cepa," I will never stop singing it. Anyway.

Eventually, the Step-2-veggies cooked down and browned. Time for garlic. A lot. Of garlic.

I added this after the other veggies had lost some water content and started to brown. Which brings me to the next photo:

BROWN BITS! The official name for the gorgeously umber-hued vegetable residue from the sautéed Allium cepa et cetera! Tough to clean off, but good. Those rich brown bits are going to get mixed into the sauce momentarily. For the moment, though, I'm still adding things, like MORE VEGETABLES!

Broccoli and potatoes. These are the bits that tend to go mushy if cooked too long, whereas onions and carrots are pretty stable, and mushrooms are really just here for flavour - I don't need them to hold their shape. Almost done. The last thing I add is the actual turkey.

There's a story here. This entire recipe was made possible by the donation of a large tupperware container full of leftover New Year's turkey from a friend who stayed at our apartment overnight. (A recent local freeze meant frozen pipes, loss of power, backed-up showers, and general nastiness that made people want to seek a bed somewhere else for a couple days while the plumbers sorted everything out.) In return for the couch-letting, we got turkey. Above is my attempt to shred it.

Turkey gets dumped in...

and immediately put in a different pan so I can make the sauce in the dutch oven. Just because this is an oven-dedicated site, that doesn't mean I can't ask for occasional receptacle-help.

There aren't too many photos of what happened next, because there was a lot of panicked stirring and hot oil jumping everywhere. This is what happens when Ceileigh attempts to make roux.

For those who don't know, roux is how you get really thick, creamy sauces and gravies. Equal amounts of butter and flour are stirred like crazy over heat so the two form a nicely brown, thick paste. Then you add liquid. This can be lots of things, depending on the flavour you want. If I had wine, I would have used it. But I didn't. So I used about 2 cups of chicken broth to the tablespoon each of butter and flour. After that reduced by about half, in went about half a cup of milk, some bay leaves, ground black pepper...

...as well as an ingredient particular to me:

About two tablespoons of my grandmother's homemade plum butter, which essentially pureed plums cooked down until they turn sweet, brown, and jammy. Great on toast, in salad dressings, on yogurt, or with poultry. It may seem weird, but hey, people put cranberries on turkey at Thanksgiving, so I'm well within my cooking rights. Here's what the sauce looks like after the plum butter has been mixed in:

Time to add the pan of deliciousness to the sauce and mix until evenly coated and the filling looks like this:

I cover everything with cinnamon after this. I love cinnamon on savory dishes.

And now for pie dough. This is a family recipe, and uses vegetable oil, milk, flour and salt instead of the usual flour, butter, water, and salt. It's extremely flaky and delicious, and I decided to use olive oil instead of canola for a taste experiment. Turned out pretty well!

So, 2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt mixed with 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of milk looks like this:

and then this:

and then this:

and then everything went to hell because the dough was too dry. So I ended up with a very rustic-looking top:

which wasn't bad, all things considered. It let the juice do interesting things in the oven. After dribbling some milk over the top, this behemoth went into the oven at 350 degrees and came out 45 minutes later looking like this:

Experiment successful!

First blood goes to me! Yum. That's gonna be hard to clean.

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