Zero Food Waste: Special Thanksgiving Edition!

zero food waste challenge 2015Hello everyone! It’s been another quiet month both for posting and, blessedly, financially (actually, I’m excited to report my savings rate for the month — stay tuned for that on Monday.) I’ve been staying with my best friend and her family (including her new (well, 8 weeks old) baby) for the last ten days, and tomorrow we’re cooking Thanksgiving together, for the second year in a row. Last year we had several couples and a few more kids over, and this year things will be more low-key, with just four adults, a 5-year-old, a baby, and a very very interested dog. So we’re trying to keep it simple, although Thanksgiving gets out of hand very fast even with “the bare minimum”: turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, two kinds of pie, and a squash and kale salad mean that just covering basics has added up to seven separate dishes! I’ll make pie crust and the squash/kale salad tonight to give us a jump start, though.

Friday, though, I’ll be really excited to pursue one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions: making turkey pot pie with a cheddar biscuit topping. This is a longish list of ingredients, but you probably have most of them the day after Thanksgiving anyway, and it’s pretty simple to make. The biscuit topping is just delicious. I really like eating it for a few days after Thanksgiving, which is typically the only time of the year that I have turkey around. I don’t see why you couldn’t do the same thing with, say, a rotisserie chicken, but for me it’s just the taste of post-Thanksgiving.

Turkey Potpie

adapted (barely) from the late, great, lamented Gourmet magazine.

Carcass and skin from your turkey
10 cups of water
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1/4-1/2″ pieces
2 celery ribs, chopped into 1/4-1/2″ pieces
1 parsnip OR turnip OR celery root OR, in a pinch, sweet potato, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 tsp fresh thyme
3 tbsp butter
1/2 lb mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
1/4 c flour
4 c shredded roast turkey meat
1 package frozen peas, thawed

For the biscuit topping:
1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour (or just use 2 c all purpose flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 c grated cheddar cheese
1/4 c grated parmegiano cheese
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
1 1/4 c cold buttermilk, shaken

1) Make stock (I usually do this after the Thanksgiving meal — I set it to simmer while we’re cleaning up, eating dessert, etc, and then it’s ready in the fridge the next day.) Put carcass and skin in a pot, cover the bones with water, and simmer for 90 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and reserve 3.5 cups of stock for the pot pie (the rest can be frozen and used for soup or gumbo or whatever, or you can discard it.)

2) Make filling. You can cook the filling in a dutch oven and then top it with the biscuits and bake in the same pot, or you can do what I do: cook the filling in a pot on the stovetop, then pour it into a lasagne-style dish to bake it in that. Whatever pan you choose, cook the vegetables (except mushrooms) and thyme in the butter, along with 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper, for about 10 min, then add the mushrooms and cook for another 5-7 min. Sprinkle the flour on and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in the stock and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom to release any brown bits. Turn down the heat to a simmer. When the mixture has thickened slightly (a few minutes) stir in the other ingredients.

3) Make biscuits. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl, then stir in both cheeses. Blend the butter in with your fingers or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk until a dough has just formed (don’t overdo it.) If the filling has cooled entirely, reheat until it’s warm, then drop the biscuit dough on top in eight or so mounds. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until the biscuits are golden. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. This reheats quite well, but make sure you use the oven and not your microwave or the biscuits will get gummy.

4 thoughts on “Zero Food Waste: Special Thanksgiving Edition!

  1. Sounds yummy! Hope you enjoy your time with your friends, and happy belated Thanksgiving!

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Thank you! It’s been great, including the leftovers turned into pot pie 🙂

  2. Mmm… that looks yummy! I’m trying to think about if there’s a way to make it gluten-free… I’ll let you know if I figure it out! 🙂

    1. thesingledollar says:

      Well, you could start by using cornstarch for the thickener instead of flour. Then the question is the biscuits. I guess I’d just sub in gluten-free flour and see what happens. They won’t taste the same, or get the same texture, but they’ll still have a lot of cheese in them so they’ll probably taste just fine 🙂

Comments are closed.