Pot pie is the perfect way to use up some of those turkey leftovers after a big holiday meal, or any left over meat you may have. It’s sure to be a hit any time of year!
It was recently Thanksgiving and we have so many turkey left overs. We all enjoy the holiday’s big feast, but then the question remains “what else can we do with all these left overs?” I don’t know about you, but I can only have so many turkey and mashed potato meals before I just want something else.
My solution for this is to turn the turkey, and other leftovers, into new dishes that make you feel like you’re eating a completely different meal. Doing this gets your family excited to eat another meal that involves turkey. Variety is key.
I grew up eating pot pie, but it was store-bought single serving pot pies. When selecting which one I wanted, my choice was always turkey. Now I have the skills to make my own from scratch, no frozen pre-made pies in sight! By the end of this post you will have those skills too!
Pot Pie is a Versatile Dish
Just about any meat works in pot pie. My favorite is turkey and chicken, but beef and lamb both work well with this dish. I’ve never tried pork, but I think it would work well also. If you or someone you know is a hunter any wild birds would taste great. At least the wild birds that I’ve tried before!
Grouse is one of my favorite wild game birds to eat. I’m going to have to have it in a pot pie sometime, I bet it would taste amazing!
Elk would probably be really good too. I’m on the fence about venison. It has a bit more of a gamey taste and I’m not sure if it would work well with this or not. Our freezer is full of venison so if I give it a try I’ll let you know.
Pot pie is not only versatile with the type of meat you can use, it can also vary in the vegetables used as well. Traditional pot pies are typically made with celery, onion, carrots, and peas. I added corn to this version, but I also could have added chopped green beans, potatoes, zucchini, and other vegetables too.
The only type I would leave out are the sweet root crops and squashes, aside from carrots. I don’t think winter squashes or sweet potatoes would work very well, but feel free to prove me wrong! If you think your family would like it, go for it and comment below on how it was.
How You Can Make Pot Pie Even Easier
When I was making the crust for our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, I had already decided that I was going to make turkey pot pie with the leftovers from our meal. Because I already had that planned, I went ahead and made extra pie crusts.
Any time you have plans to make a pie of any kind, it’s so easy to make a few extra. It doesn’t take very long, especially if you use a food processor like I do. And the result is, you have pie crusts in the freezer just waiting for your next dessert or savory pie.
By spending those few extra minutes up front, you can save that time later making crusts every time you need one. I don’t know about you, but if I can spend a few minutes up front and save myself a lot more time later I’m going to do it.
Another great way of saving time with pot pie is to use left over meat. This time, I used leftover turkey. If I had leftovers from my roasted chicken recipe, or from my pot roast recipe those would be perfect. Or maybe it’s shredded pork from the sandwiches you ate last night. Whatever the meat is, it will most likely work in pot pie.
And because it’s already cooked, it saves you that step and dinner is ready that much faster. I just love meals like that!
Vegetables are another thing you can save time on if you already have some prepared. Today I used frozen peas and corn that I already had in the freezer, and I had pressure canned some carrots about a week ago. The chopping was already done, and that always seems to be the longest part of the process for me!
If I was making this in the summer, I would probably be more likely to use fresh vegetables. But since I take the time to grow extra vegetables and preserve them, it saves me a lot of time when I’m in a hurry to throw dinner together.
If you can, you won’t regret it. If you can’t, that’s okay. Buy fresh vegetables from the store or buy a pack of mixed frozen vegetables. Both will take great, but if you have the choice frozen vegetables will save you the most time. They typically come already chopped and ready to use. No need to take the time to do it yourself.
They’re also just as healthy for you as fresh vegetables, sometimes even more so.
Making The Pie
Preheat the oven to 350ºF, 176ºC.
Preparing the Crust
I’m going to assume you’ve already made the pie crust. If not, check out my Pie Crust recipe to make the best buttery and flakey crust that will be perfect for your pot pie.
Make sure the pie crust is not still frozen if it’s one that you’ve had in the freezer. It’s best to pull it out in the morning and put it in the fridge for the day. It should be ready to go by the time you’re making dinner.
Split the pie crust in half, put one half back in the fridge and the other half on a floured surface. Roll out the half of the crust you kept out until it is large enough to fit your pie pan. An easy way to tell is to set the pie pan on top of the crust and see if it’s bigger than the pan.
Use butter to grease the pie pan. Use it liberally so the crust doesn’t stick!
Fold the crust in half and carefully lift it into the pie pan. I always fold it in half because it’s easier to move but this isn’t necessary.
Lay the crust in the pan so the entire bottom and sides are covered. Press the crust down along the bottom where the bottom curves into the sides. Don’t trim the excess crust off yet.
Make the Pot Pie Filling
A basic pot pie filling starts with chopped celery, carrots, and onions. I like to add some corn and peas as well; sometimes cut up green beans if I have them. Dice your vegetables if they are fresh. If you’re using frozen vegetables they are probably already pre-chopped and ready to go.
If you’re using fresh veggies, melt about a tablespoon of lard or tallow, or use some olive oil. Heat the fat/oil until hot then add the chopped veggies. Sauté for a few minutes, until they start to become soft.
Dice whatever meat you are using for your pot pie and add it to the pan. Pot pie is great for using up leftovers, but you can take the time to cook some meat right now if you don’t have any leftovers. I’m using leftover turkey from Thanksgiving for this pot pie.
Add 1 1/2 cups of broth to the pan and heat. Take the remaining 1/2 cup of broth, mix 3 tablespoons of non-GMO corn starch or flour, then add it to the pan. It’s important to mix the broth and thickener separately to avoid getting clumps in the filling.
Add about 2 teaspoons of salt, pepper to your taste (I added about 1/2 teaspoon), 1 tablespoon of dried parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, and 2 teaspoons of dried thyme. You can certainly use fresh thyme as well, you would add about a tablespoon if using fresh. If you’re using frozen veggies, add them now.
Heat everything up until it starts to bubble. Add 1 cup of heavy cream, continue to heat until the cream is heated through and the filling starts to thicken.
Finishing the Assembly
When you’ve finished the filling, pour it into the pie pan lined with the bottom crust.
Take the top pie crust and roll it out the same way as the bottom, making sure you roll it out so it’s large enough to cover the top of the entire pie pan plus a couple of inches.
Go ahead and trim any excess crust if it’s more than about 2 inches longer than the pie pan. Take the two crusts and tuck the edges into the pie pan so the excess is tucked along the sides behind the bottom crust.
Pinch along the top edge of the pie crust. This helps seal the top and bottom crusts together and makes the pie look pretty. It’s a win-win!
Cut a few slits into the top layer of crust. As the pie filling heats up in the oven, it will release steam. The steam needs to be able to escape, so it’s important to add those slits into the top of the crust. If you want, you could get extra fancy with a design, but when you’re goal is just to get dinner on the table fancy just isn’t necessary.
Bake the Pot Pie
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-45 minutes. When the crust is browned and you see the filling start to bubble out of the slits you put into the top of the crust, you’ll know the pie is done cooking.
Take it out of the oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. The filling will thicken more as it cools, so letting it sit before cutting into it and serving will help keep the filling from running everywhere. It will also help keep mouths from being burnt, it will be hot!
This is a dish that doesn’t need anything served along the side. Between the crust and filling, it hits every major food group in the most delicious of ways!
- 2 pie crust (see my pie crust recipe)
- 1-2 cups of your meat of choice (leftover chicken, turkey, or pot roast are perfect for this)
- 1 celery stalk
- 1/4 medium onion
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 cup of peas
- 1/2 cup of green beans (optional)
- 1/2 cup of corn (optional)
- 2 cups of chicken or beef broth
- 1 Tbsp lard, tallow, or olive oil
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch or flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley or 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF, 176ºC.
- Chop vegetables if using fresh
- Heat 1 tablespoon of lard, tallow, or olive oil in a sauce pan
- Add vegetables, fresh or frozen, to the sauce pan and cook until they begin to get soft
- Add 1 1/2 cups of broth and the diced meat to the vegetables
- Take 1/2 cup of broth and add the cornstarch to it, mixing well
- Add the broth/cornstarch mixture to the pan.
- Add all the seasonings and heat until it starts to get bubbly
- Butter a pie pan and sprinkle with a little flour
- Split the pie crust dough in half and roll out the bottom pie crust
- Place it into the pie pan and set aside
- Add the cream to the filling mix once it gets bubbly and heat until cream is hot but not boiling
- Pour filling into the bottom pie crust
- Roll out the top crust and place it on the pie
- Tuck in the extra crust and pinch along the edges
- Make a couple of slits into the top pie crust to allow steam to escape
- Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the crust is browned and the filling is starting to bubble out of the slits in the top crust
- Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving