So NOW what?

Thanksgiving is behind us now and what to do with all that's left? Here in our home, once we've had our fill of turkey sandwiches with Hellmann's REAL mayonnaise (of course!) on fresh, squishy white bread, we make turkey stock and then it's promptly on to turkey pot pie and squash soup for us.

Because we're basically all incredibly tired of turkey at this point, making a giant pot of soup now seems pointless so we reserve enough stock for the squash soup (about 5 cups) and the turkey pot pie (about 2 cups) and we simply freeze the remaining stock for some wonderful Winter soup cookery.

Here's how we do it.

Below you'll find the process for making stock from the turkey carcass and steps for making the turkey pot pie. We'll cover the squash soup in a separate post.

TURKEY STOCK

1. BOIL TURKEY CARCASS
We first saute a few onions and what's left of the Thanksgiving celery in the giant stock pot. We then add enough water to cover the turkey carcass, left over skin and bones, add quite a bit of salt and a palmful of whole peppercorns. We bring this to a boil and then we simmer it for hours on end to make a rich, hearty stock until all the meat has fallen off the bones - we usually accomplish this over the course of two days.

2. STRAIN COOLED TURKEY STOCK
We then strain the cooled stock by putting our biggest spaghetti strainer/colander in a large pot and pouring the contents of the huge stock pot in, usually in thirds, throwing away the trapped bones and meat between pours. Some folks keep the meat but we don't - our feeling is that the flavors have been extracted into the stock, making the boiled meet quite tasteless. It's up to you.

3. RESERVE ENOUGH TURKEY STOCK FOR IMMEDIATE USE, FREEZE THE REST.

TURKEY POT PIE

1. PIE CRUST
Call us slackers but we are Pillsbury pre-made/pre-rolled pie crust advocates and we're sticking to it - if we could make a better crust we would do so and be encouraging you to do the same! Instead we are showing you what the package looks like!

One thing we DO do with this pre-made crust, however, is to roll out the crusts slightly with a rolling pin so that they are thinner, bigger and more supple, one at a time, as we're ready to use them for the pie. This ensures that the bottom crust falls fully into the pie plate with edges hanging over the edge and ensures that the top crust covers the pot pie contents fully and is wide enough to fall over the rim so that both crusts meet for the final sealing pinches, fluting, or fork-pressing. TIP: Keep crusts in the refrigerator until the moment you are ready to use them.

2. PREPARE POT PIE VEGETABLES
With the exception of the onions, carrots and potatoes in this case, most of the vegetables in the pot pie are leftover Thanksgiving side dishes. Here's what we used this year to make a fantastic pot pie - in previous years we have used peas instead of beans and have added freshly sauteed celery as well. Use what vegetables you have left over and add those you love, remembering that they must be pre-cooked before adding them to the pot pie!

Brussels sprouts - cut 9-12 pre-cooked brussel sprouts in half (note: it really IS brussels sprouts - brussels with S)
Green beans - cut 12-18 pre-cooked green beans into 1-2" lengths

Onions - cut one medium to large onion into bite-size chunks and saute in butter until soft and translucent.
Carrots - chop baby carrots until you have about 1 cup and then saute or steam until soft.
Potatoes - cut potatoes into small chunks until you have about 1 cup and then saute or boil until soft.

3. PREPARE POT PIE SAUCE
Melt 6 Tbs real butter in a saucepan.
Stir in 6 Tbs flour and cook for about 2 minutes until bubbly and browning.
Slowly add 2 cups turkey stock and 1 cup milk and keep stirring.
Add 1/2 tsp pepper and add salt to taste.
Cook over medium heat until very thick and smooth - generally about 5 minutes.

4. PREPARE POT PIE MEAT
Chop leftover, cooked turkey meat into small, bit-size chunks to yield about 3-4 cups. Use dark meat or light meat depending upon your preference and what's left over. Both are great in the pot pie.

5. BUILD POT PIE
Unroll, rollout, and lay bottom crust in a round, 9" pie plate, adjusting crust so that edges hang over the pie plate evenly all the way around .
Prick a few holes in the bottom crust with the tines of a fork.
Place turkey pieces evenly into the pie plate.
Cover turkey with the pot pie sauce, adding about 1" of sauce on top of the turkey. Keep extra sauce, if any, to thin out and pour over pie pieces when serving.
Place cooked vegetables into the pie plate, on top of the sauce.
Unroll, rollout, and place top crust onto the pie plate so that edges hang over the pie plate evenly all the way around.
Pinch edges of crusts together and fold/tuck joined crust under so it stays together and sits on top of the pie plate edge.
Push flat part of fork tines into the crust edge all the way around the pie to seal edges even more and to create a decorate edge.
Push the pie edge in slightly with an index finger to loosen it from the pie plate and to plump up the edge a bit so there is no thin crust left on the pie plate edges.
Vent top crust by pushing a sharp knife tip into the crust, making about 10 small slits. Rotate the knife 30 degrees and make 10 more small slits. Rotate the knife a bit more and make 10 more slits.

6. BAKE POT PIE
Bake pot pie for about 25-30 minutes in a preheated oven at 425 degrees until the crust is golden brown.

7. COOL AND EAT POT PIE
Allow to cool at least 10 minutes prior to slicing and serving!
If there was extra pot pie sauce, thin out with white wine, milk, or stock and either drizzle over pie pieces prior to serving or serve the gravy at the table in a gravy boat or small pitcher.

Bon Appetit!