Canadian Thanksgiving was last weekend. Four hundred and forty-two years ago an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient, established a settlement in what is now called Newfoundland. He held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving. There have been several dates which Canada celebrated Thanksgiving but in 1957 parliament proclaimed that it is to be observed on the second Monday in October. This long weekend is highlighted by a turkey dinner which my family has done so for four generations. I continue to carry on with this tradition as do my adult children. I enjoy all the details that go into planning this turkey feast but one of the things I don’t like is coming up with creative ideas on how to use leftover meat. It’s a task when it’s just the two of us. My solution? Make individual turkey pot pies.
Making pot pies is relatively simple and easy to do. You most likely already have the ingredients on hand from the turkey dinner (carrots, peas, stuffing etc). Pot pies are a perfect way to utilize leftovers and you don’t have to be too precise on measurements (yay!). This recipe is one of my favourite comfort foods.
turkey meat, chopped into bite-size chunks
celery rib, chopped
small onion, chopped
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
canned baby peas, drained
homemade pastry dough or purchased pie dough
4 pie tins (5-inches in diameter) or your own cooking vessel such as ramekins
Preheat oven to 400f (200c). In a large frying pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil and toss in onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until al dente then add turkey meat and garlic. The meat only needs to be warmed up then add peas. Stir until combined. Season with sage, cumin (about 1 teaspoon) and dried tarragon (1 to 2 teaspoons). You may need to add a splash of olive oil if filling looks dry. Take three tablespoons of flour and sprinkle over filling. Stir to combine then add half a cup of milk. Stir until well combined. Add more milk if too dry. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. This step is crucial unless you like a soggy pastry bottom.
Use the pie tin as a guide to cut pastry. You will need 8 circles. Place one pastry circle in each pie tin and divide filling evenly. Top with pastry and crimp edges with a fork to create a seal. Brush tops of pastry with egg wash. Cut a small X in the middle of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Place in oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Use whatever you have leftover from your turkey dinner. Add gravy to the filling…you’ll be happy you did. Enjoy!