Turn Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Into a Gorgeous Turkey-Mushroom Pot Pie
Keep your post-Thanksgiving meals easy (and delicious) with this Yummly Original pot pie recipe. The secret is store-bought puff pastry dough.
(Want more Thanksgiving recipes and tips? Check out our big Yummly Thanksgiving page!)
Article, recipe, and photos by Ashley Strickland Freeman
Happy holidays everybody! I don’t know about you, but year after year, even with lots of planning and many lists, I tend to cook WAY too much, leaving my family stuck with the same leftovers to eat for days upon end. And this year, we’re a smaller group at the table. Thankfully, my Patchwork Puff Pastry Turkey Pot Pie takes care of two Thanksgiving leftovers: turkey and green beans, reinvented into a delicious and (if I may say so), beautiful meal.
The recipe also uses one of my favorite ingredients: frozen puff pastry. In my opinion, this dough is magical, baking up into flaky, buttery layers of goodness and taking dishes from ho-hum to hip-hip-hooray. The best news is that it’s easy to work with if you know a couple of key tricks.
Jump ahead to:
Tips for working with puff pastry dough
If puff pastry intimidates you, not to worry: I’ve got you covered. Here are my tips for baking with puff pastry dough.
1. Thaw, thaw, thaw
Since the most common brand of puff pastry comes in frozen form, it’ll need to be defrosted prior to baking. I prefer the defrost-in-the-fridge-overnight method. This allows the dough to become workable without allowing the fat to melt. If, however you forget to thaw overnight, don’t fret. Remove the pastry from the outer and inner package and thaw at room temperature for about 40 minutes, or until it’s pliable.
Science lesson side-note: Puff pastry is a laminated dough, meaning there are layers upon layers of dough separated by butter (or shortening, in the case of some brands). As the dough bakes, the water in the layers turns into steam, making large air bubbles form. We know that water and fat don’t mix, so when the heat from the steam gets trapped between the layers of dough and butter, it causes the pastry to puff up. Ensuring that the butter is nice and cold prevents it from “melting” into the dough.
2. Flour the surface
Prevent sticky situations by lightly flouring your work surface and rolling pin.
3. Use a sharp knife or pastry cutter
When cutting puff pastry, you’ll want to be sure to make smooth, clean cuts. Otherwise, the edges can get smashed and compress, preventing them from rising.
4. Don’t overdo it
Rolling the dough too much or doing a lot of re-rolling causes a build-up of gluten, which could cause the dough to bake up flat.
5. Keep it cold
After I’ve worked with the dough, I pop it back in the fridge until just before baking. Dough that is colder will rise more because it takes longer for cold butter to melt.
6. Turn up the heat
High heat is crucial to creating that steam in between the layers of puff pastry, so you’ll want to be sure to bake it at 400° or higher.
Patchwork Puff Pastry Turkey Pot Pie recipe
Now that you know the basics for how to work with puff pastry to create a beautiful topping, let’s turn to how to make a really delicious pot pie.
In a classic pot pie recipe, the meat and vegetables are held together with a white sauce, which can be as simple as seasoned milk thickened with a flour-and-butter roux. For maximum flavor I opted for a combination of dry sherry, chicken broth, and milk for the liquid, with sauteed shallot, garlic, and three kinds of herbs for complexity.
As for the vegetables, I went with leftover green beans and then added sauteed mushrooms because they’re so terrific with the flavor of sherry. But you could use cooked carrots, peas, diced sweet potatoes, or another leftover Thanksgiving vegetable if you like.
And then there’s the turkey. Whether you roasted or grilled the bird this year or cooked it sous vide or in an Instant Pot, the meat will be outstanding tucked into the pot pie. Out of turkey? You can make the recipe anytime of year with rotisserie chicken.
Creative cooking with leftovers
Make the most of those leftovers hanging out in the fridge with recipes from these additional collections.