Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Turkeys go in and (apple) pies come out.

Let me start this by saying that my pies were not inedible. But they were not awesome. Sad face. Why yes, that is a sense of foreboding you are getting.

I got the bright idea (no sarcasm, it really is a good idea) from some blog or site to use turkey leftovers to make turkey pot pie. Nom nom nom.

I found these adorable little disposable pot pie pots, so I could make individual servings and bring a couple to work for the boys that drive me around (long story resulting in no car this week) and feed the roommies. And I used kind of a hodge-podge of recipes, because I figured it was a left over pie, you don't need to follow rules!

What I did (makes 6):

The innards:

Made turkey stock with my carcass, 2 onions, a bag of carrots and a bunch of celery. Also added thyme, oregano, salt n pepper.

Made a roux with 2 tbsp of butter and 3 tbsp flour. Added some roasted garlic, courtesy of thxgiving*. Added 3 cups of stock, with as many carrots as I could gather and as few celery bits as I could (I don't like the idea of celery in my pie. Peas and carrots only please). 1 cup of milk. Seasoned. Added 7 chopped up white potatoes. A cup of frozen peas. 2 cups of chopped up left-over white meat turkey. Simmer until potatoes are tender.

I found that the sauce was too thin so I took all the bits out after and reduced the sauce til it was thicker.

The Outards:

I had a big debate with myself whether to make a regular pie crust or use pre-made puff pastry. Puff pastry won. There's just something so enticing about a puff pastry top. I used one package of puff pastry, but then I threw away one sixth of it because I didn't flour the board the first time and then it stuck to everything and was a giant faily fail. Laziness really kills. I then had to streetch my other pastry out to make it fit 6 pies.

Got the pie crust in, tried to distribute the insides as evenly as possible, covered them up. Dabbed some eggwash (one beaten egg) on each top. Baked for 25 min at 350F.

Here are my results:

I know. Pretty failyfail. Especially when all viewed together. I was a little embarrassed about bringing them to work to give to people, but then I remembered they are boys and thus not picky.

Ah well, learn from my mistakes...

Lessons learned:

- NEVER STRETCH PUFF PASTRY - it shrivels back to size, or doesn't rise and is just generally depressing. It also gets holes in it really easily and then the sauce gets under the pastry and then the pastry shell is all goopey. So use flour aplenty to stop it from sticking and getting thrown away. I would also advise cutting the dough before rolling - a pack of puff pastry usually comes in 2 sheets which are folded in 3, which is pretty perfect. Cut each strip into 2 (one side slightly bigger than the other) and use the bigger for a base and the smaller for the lid. Roll the bigger one so that it is about 3/4 of an inch more in radius for the rim of the pie. Throw it in the pie tin as a square, fit it properly (without STRETCHING!) and then trim whatever falls over the edge.

- I believe you are also meant to cut a little slit in the top to let the steam out.

- Use a brush to do the egg wash. I used my fingers, and it was not even, so my pies were not beautiful and brown and shiny, they were just even more sad.

- For the insides, the biggest piece of advice I can give: cut the carrots and potatoes up, steam all the things separately and put them in the shells, then add the sauce. Why? Well. To ensure perfect cooking of each element. My peas were kind of an olive green by the time all the potatoes were cooked, and my carrots were not so vibrant. My turkey was also kind of dry by the time it had stewed... This also ensures that you get the desired amount of each food, not say one piece of turkey and 9 potatoes.

- Chopping: It really helps to cut things pretty small here. I am a lazy and there were giant chunks of potato and turkey and carrots... which was fine, but would have been better small.

- Aluminum pots are not so great to bring to offices that only have microwaves, because then you have to take the pie out and put it on a paper plate and then the crust gets even soggier.

Back pats:

+ The stock: My soups are generally delicious, and this was no different. Although one roommate has voiced complaint that even our bathroom smells like turkey now.

+ The potato: Using a waxy variety is a good plan because then it doesn't disintegrate in the sauce.

So. Go forth and prosper, children.

In other news, I slept with wet hair and am now experiencing a truly horrible hair day that even a hat couldn't fix. My bangs look like a mullet.

* I have noticed a lot of faux-hip mom-aged peeps throwing this little gem around the emails. They think they are sooo with-it.

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