Thanksgiving Goodies Pot Pie

November 24, 2015
This tasty dish is in no way related to the supermarket version.
Leah Mawson
Thanksgiving Goodies Pot Pie | WGBH | Craving Boston

Thanksgiving is all about comfort foods. Foods that feed the soul: grandma’s stuffing, mama’s pie, daddy’s turkey. What if you could take the bounty of this holiday meal and extend it beyond the traditional leftovers of Thanksgiving sandwiches and turkey soup? Don't get me wrong, I spend all year anticipating that first turkey sandwich with the stuffing and the gravy and the cranberry sauce! I’m only suggesting that there's more—and what's more comforting than turkey potpie?  

As a parent and cook, I am constantly in search of recipes that are stress-free, but delicious. This is a ‘reap what you sow’ kind of recipe—a labor of love, if you will. Once it’s made you can freeze it in individual servings, or in quart containers, or as a pie with puff pastry from your local grocer. It can be defrosted and served with biscuits or baked frozen. However, whenever you choose to eat it, you’ll be thankful you took the time to make it. 

The majority of the ingredients needed for this recipe are Thanksgiving staples. You can absolutely use any cooked carrots, or peas, or broccoli left over from Thanksgiving dinner for added flavor; just stir them in with the turkey at the end.  

Thanksgiving Goodies Pot Pie | WGBH | Craving Boston

The real key to this recipe is a homemade brown stock that builds big flavors (and utilizes leftovers). The process is simple: you roast the turkey bones and skin at a high heat to caramelize and deepen the flavor of your stock. But be forewarned—the roasting will release a great deal of fat during the cooking process, along with the divine smell that will fill your kitchen. I like to make this stock as soon as possible after the Thanksgiving meal to allow it to cool completely and refrigerate overnight. The refrigeration causes the fat to solidify, making it easy to scoop off before use. You will have more turkey stock than you need to make the turkey potpie recipe. Be sure to freeze it and use it to flavor soups and sauces. 

I would like to give a shout out to the Village Tearoom, Restaurant & Bake Shop in New Paltz, NY, without which, I might not have ever known that turkey potpie could be so much more than the frozen supermarket variety that I remember loving as a child. The turkey potpie served at this restaurant has such a cult following that it sells even in the heat of summer. My recipe is a streamlined version of the recipe that I learned to make from my time in the kitchen there. It is a part of my Thanksgiving tradition and I’m certain that once you try it, it will become a part of yours, too. You can thank me later.

Rich Brown Turkey Stock

Thanksgiving Goodies Pot Pie | WGBH | Craving Boston
  1. Set the oven at 475 degrees.
  2. In a large oven-safe pot or dutch oven, roast the leftover turkey carcass for 1 hour, until the skin is caramelized and bones are very fragrant.
  3. Remove the pot of bones from the oven, cover with water and add the peppercorns, thyme, parsely, celery, carrots and bay leaf. Gently simmer over medium-low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Remove the bones from liquid; discard and strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. 
  5. Return to the pot to the stovetop and reduce by half, about 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool completely and transfer to the refridgerator to chill overnight. 
  7. Once cooled, scrape off any fat and discard. 

Turkey Pot Pie

Thanksgiving Goodies Pot Pie | WGBH | Craving Boston
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions (finely chopped)
1/4 cup butter (4 tablespoons)
1/2 cup flour
2 cups turkey or chicken stock (see recipe for Rich Brown Stock)
3/4 cup milk (preferably whole)
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 carrots (roughly chopped)
2 celery stalks (finely chopped)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
4 cups cooked turkey (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until translucent, 15 minutes, sseason liberally with salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over low heat.
  3. Slowly add the flour to the melted butter.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to combine and stir constantly for 3 minutes.
  5. Add the 2 cups of brown stock to the pot and bring to a boil, being careful not to burn the roux on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Stir the roux constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon for 2-3 minutes until it reaches the consistency of wet sand.
  7. Stir in the milk and the cream and return to a boil.
  8. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the carrots and celery.
  9. Add the onions.
  10. Simmer on a very low heat until all of the vegetables are cooked.
  11. Remove pan from heat and stir in peas, parsley and turkey.


To serve with store-bought puff pastry:

This is by far the easiest option, and it’s a time saver when you need it most during the busy holidays. Purchase a package of puff pastry from your local grocer—better yet, purchase two; this pastry is great to keep on hand and you can store it in your freezer. However, it is best if you defrost it in the refrigerator prior to use.  I usually allow it to thaw overnight. I’ll transfer it from the freezer into the fridge after I’ve started making my brown stock. A single package of puff pastry is enough to cover a 9-inch pie pan or 6 ovenproof ramekins or bowls. To use, simply follow the instructions in print on the package.  Cut the pastry to size, keeping a ½ inch hang over the sides.* Make sure to allow the filling to cool completely before covering it with the pastry. I like to brush the rim of the pie pan or ramekin with egg wash (1 egg beaten with a pinch of salt) to help the pastry adhere. Crimp the sides and immediately place in the freezer to chill for 30 minutes before baking, or freeze for future use. Brush the pastry with egg wash, and cut a few air vents in the top to allow the air to escape. This step will help the pastry to achieve the golden hue that every cook covets. For the best results, always make sure that your oven is hot and your pastry is cold.

Set your oven to 425 degrees and bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes (if chilled), or 40 minutes (if frozen), or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

*Save all of the pastry scraps! Waste not, want not! Brush with egg wash. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake until crisp.


To serve with biscuits:

Any biscuit will do, so use your favorite: store bought, homemade or buttermilk. I’ve even served a simmering pot of turkey potpie filling with dumplings—a play on one of my favorite down home comfort foods, chicken and dumplings.  

Remember, the turkey potpie filling can always be frozen as is. It can be eaten as is too.   


Here are a few of my favorite places in the metro area to source a turkey:

  • M.F. Dulock Pasture-Raised Meats, 201A Highland Ave., Somerville, 617.666.1970,
  • Savenor’s Supply Co., 92 Kirkland St., Cambridge, 617.876.7070,
  • The Butcher Shop, 552 Tremont Street, Boston, 617.423.4800,


Zinger Headline 
Thanksgiving Pot Pie: Leftovers Never Tasted So Good
  • November 23, 2015