Winter took its sweet time coming to Northern California this year, but it did finally arrive, and here we are with long, chilly nights and frost-kissed mornings. Perfect weather for a warming bowl of pot pie. There is the classic chicken pot pie of course. But with the holidays we thought we might try our hand at a turkey pot pie made with cooked turkey, a perfect dish for holiday leftovers. This turkey pot pie has a Cajun twist, starting with the trinity of onions, celery and green bell peppers, and spiced up a bit with Cajun seasoning. It’s topped with a flaky, buttery crust, which is in my opinion, the best reason of all to make a pot pie.
You can make the pot pie either in individual ramekins or in one large casserole dish.
- 5 Tbsp peanut oil or unsalted butter
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow or white onion
- 1 large green pepper, chopped
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 cups diced, cooked turkey meat
- 2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning*
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
- 1 cup dark beer (brown ale or Guinness)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch cubes (best to chill cubes in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before using)
- 3 to 4 Tbsp chilled ice water
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp cream
*If you can't find Cajun seasoning in your local market, you can make your own with 3/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, and 1 1/2 teaspoons each of paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
1 Make the pie crust dough. Pulse the flour and salt together in a food processor. Add the chilled butter cubes to the food processor and pulse 5 times. The dough should resemble a coarse cornmeal, with some pea-sized pieces of butter. Slowly add the chilled water (make sure there are no small ice cube bits), just a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once after each addition, until the dough just sticks together when you press some between your fingers. Empty the food processor, placing the dough mixture on a clean surface. Use the heel of your palm to shmoosh the dough mixture onto the table surface a few times. This action will help flatten and spread the butter between layers of flour, so that the resulting dough will be flaky. Once you've done this a few (5 or 6) times, use your hands to mold the dough into a disk. Sprinkle the disk with a little flour, wrap it in plastic wrap, and let it chill for an hour, or up to 2 days, before rolling out.
2 To make the filling, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, celery, green pepper and jalapeno, stirring often, until they are soft, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, turkey meat, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Mix well and cook another 1 minute, stirring once or twice.
3 Bring the stock and beer to a boil in a small pot. Sprinkle the flour over the turkey and veggies and mix well. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often and making sure no flour burns on the bottom of the pan. Slowly pour in the hot stock-beer mixture, stirring. It will seize up at first, then, as you pour in more stock and stir, will form a silky sauce for the turkey. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Pour the filling into a 2-quart casserole or, if you wish, into individual ramekins.
4 Prepare the crust. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to a little less than a quarter-inch thick. If you are using a casserole, roll into a sheet a little larger than the dish. If you are using ramekins (use 10 ounce ramekins), cut the dough into 6 rounds that are slightly larger than the circumference of the ramekins. Lay the dough onto the filling. Fold the excess dough under itself and use the tines of a fork to press the dough against the edge of the ramekins. Cut a 1-inch vent into each individual pie, or several if you are making a casserole. Whisk together in a small bowl the egg yolk and cream for an egg wash. Use a pastry brush to paint the egg wash over the crust. This will help the crust brown nicely.
5 Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.