It’s gone. It disappeared right before my eyes. All this buildup and Thanksgiving flew right past us at the speed of light. You’re probably thinking, “Why then, a week later, is he talking about leftovers? Those vanish in a couple of days.”

If you have already run out of turkey then my heart goes out to you. We had five adults and four kids at our turkey party, and this holiday season we fried three birds and smoked one. With a little more effort we could have had one turkey per grownup.

Maybe by next week I will be sick and tired of turkey but today I am still going strong. So far I have made two separate turkey gumbos, the little sandwiches with the apricot preserves Khaki showed me, and a cream of turkey soup that was pleasing. But easily the favorite leftover creation was turkey pot pie.

I’ve made plenty of pot pies but this one turned out to be my best effort. Call it dumb luck or give me all the credit but if you have leftover turkey it’d be in your best interest to follow this recipe to the letter. If you’ve already run out of the big bird or if you are simply burned out on Tom Turkey, it’s OK to go with chicken or beef. Pork could also work well. The crust is really important, but I am not snobbish about it. You could buy a couple frozen crusts and make out fine.

The Pot

1 carrot, peeled and medium chopped
1 baking potato, peeled and medium chopped
1 stick butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 jalapeno seeded finely diced
3 cloves garlic diced
½ cup all-purpose flour
Salt, pepper and Creole seasoning to taste
¾ cups of sliced mushrooms
2 ½-3 cups of chicken broth
3 cups shredded leftover turkey
½ cup fresh, frozen or canned green peas
2 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon chopped sage
1 teaspoon of tarragon

Start by boiling potatoes and carrots in a pot of boiling salted water until tender but firm. In a large skillet over medium heat melt the butter and sauté onions for about 3 minutes. Add celery and jalapeño, cooking until all the veggies are soft. Toss in the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

Sprinkle in the flour a little at a time and stir continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook until a golden roux is formed, seasoning generously with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.

Once the roux is done gradually incorporate the chicken broth. Eyeball the amount constantly stirring until you reach the desired thickness for the filling. Add the turkey and the mushrooms. Gently stir in the potatoes and carrots careful not to break them, and ease in the green peas.

At this point you need to assess the situation and decide if you need to add a little more chicken broth. It’s likely, but not mandatory. Keep it thick and gooey.

The Pie

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups shortening
5 Tbsps ice water
1 egg whisked with a splash of water
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of Maldon salt

For the crust we need to combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and work the shortening in with our hands. It will start to look like large crumbs. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, still working the mixture with your hands and using just enough until you have a smooth ball of dough. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour.

Cut the ball of dough in half and roll out each on a floured surface. The two crusts should be about 14 inches in diameter to fit a greased, 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Be careful putting that bottom one on. It can be tricky.

Fill the pie shell three-quarters full with the pot filling and cover with the other shell crimping the edge. Using a pastry brush coat the top crust lightly with the egg/water mixture. Sprinkle on the sugar and salt. Vent the crust with a sharp knife in about five places. Bake the pie in a preheated 375 F-degree oven for at least 30 minutes, or until the crust is done.

Allow it to cool five to 10 minutes before serving. Don’t tell too many people you’ve done this.

The leftover leftovers
If my calculations are correct you now have leftover filling. This is grand. We have recipes for the leftover leftovers. Here are a few ideas.

Boil up some spaghetti. Thin the leftover filling with a little heavy cream and a little bit of grated nutmeg. Pour this over the spaghetti and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F and you’ve got yourself a nice pan of Turkey tettrazzini!

For a wonderful leftover soup you need to go no further than a cup of heavy cream, a few more mushrooms, a little extra turkey and thin it out with chicken broth until you find the perfect thickness.

Pour the filling over cooked phyllo dough for some Turkey a la King.

Let’s say you just leave the extra filling in the pan and you and your bestie or significant other step away from the stove for a bottle of wine each. You might just want to revisit that pan with a bag of tortilla chips and a bottle of hot sauce. I think that’s a plausible scenario.

I’ve had so much fun the past couple weeks cooking everyday and facing the leftover challenge. I’m exhausted, but have loved every minute of it, and I’m sad it’s over. But with so many great opportunities with leftovers, why do we only cook turkey once a year?

Photo | Depositphotos.com – Too much turkey? Turn leftovers into turkey pot pie, turkey tetrazzini, gumbo or turkey and mushroom soup.