Love Your Leftovers

Too much of a good thing can be a great thing when it comes to turkey leftovers. Before the big holiday feasts, many people worry about how many people a certain size turkey will feed—but the best strategy is to have a little extra. Apart from the classic turkey sandwiches, leftover turkey is delicious in homemade pot pie. It’s the old-fashioned, frugal cook’s way to make a little bit of leftover meat feed a whole family, says Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, who created these recipes for Real Food. The bubbling, creamy filling capped by a tender, flaky pastry lid is so delicious and comforting that your family will sing your praises, she adds. And if you have canned navy beans, a carrot and an onion on hand, you are halfway to soup. Use up the last of the holiday turkey in the savory bean soup, which is made extra special with a generous spoonful of pistou—the French version of Italy’s pesto—swirled into every bowl, says Asbell. With these recipes, that last piece of the feast will go out in style.

No leftovers? No problem. Use 12 ounces deli turkey or substitute rotisserie chicken for the 2 cups turkey called for in either recipe to try these dishes anytime.

Turkey Pot Pie

Makes 5 individual ramekins or 1 pie (8 servings)

For the Filling
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup chopped carrot, about 1 large
1 cup chopped parsnip, about 1 medium
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
3 tablespoons flour
11/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup half-and-half
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the Pastry Dough
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
3 tablespoons ice water, or more if needed
1 large egg

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set aside either five 1-cup ramekins or an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. For the Filling: In a 2-quart pot, melt the tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the carrot and parsnip and sauté for 1 minute, then add the sage, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 10 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stirring until all of the flour is moistened and cooked, about 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the stock, 1/2 cup at a time, then the half-and-half. Increase the heat to medium and stir frequently until the mixture starts to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in the turkey, peas, salt, and pepper. Let the pot stand in a warm spot while you prepare the pastry.

4. For the Pastry Dough: While the vegetables are cooking, place the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Use the coarse side of a grater to grate in the butter and toss to coat. Use a fork to fluff the mixture as you drizzle in the ice water, then start gently squeezing the flour mixture to form dough. You may need to drizzle in 1 tablespoon or so more water, just to make it hold together. Form 5 rounds or 1 squared sheet of dough, and place on a plate to chill for 30 minutes.

5. Roll out each round enough to cover a ramekin and hang down ½ inch or roll out the dough to an 8-inch square (about 1/8-inch thick).

6. Portion the filling into either ramekins or the square pan.

7. For ramekins, place the dough on top of each ramekin, and cut two slashes in each middle.

8. For the square pan, cut the dough into 9 even squares, by cutting three by three. Place the squares on top of the filling.

9. Whisk egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush dough with egg wash and bake—about 25 minutes for ramekins, 35 minutes for the square pan. The filling should be bubbling up through the center, and the pastry should be golden. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. 


Turkey and White Bean Soup with Pistou

Makes 4 to 6 servings 

For the Soup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, with juices
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups cubed cooked turkey
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Pistou
1 cup fresh basil
1 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed

1. For the Soup: In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, and rosemary and sauté, stirring, for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes, until the carrots are tender.

3. Stir in the navy beans and their juices, tomatoes, cooked turkey, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 5 minutes.

4. For the Pistou: Place the basil, parsley, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Process to grind finely. Add the salt and olive oil and process until smooth, adding a little more oil if necessary to make a smooth paste.

5. Serve soup in bowls, drizzled with pistou. 

Nutrition info (per serving) 
• Turkey Potpie: Calories 409 (199 From Fat); Fat 23g (Sat. 13g); Chol 128mg; Sodium 681mg; Carb 32g; Fiber 3g; Protein 20g
• Turkey & Bean Soup: Calories 429 (143 From Fat); Fat 16g (Sat. 3g); Chol 73mg; Sodium 1192mg; Carb 40g; Fiber 15g; Protein 33g

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.