Saturday, November 24, 2012

turkey pot pie

Sweet potato casserole. Green bean casserole. Corn casserole. Homemade rolls. Cornbread dressing. And yes, turkey. The memory of Thanksgiving dinner is still vibrant in my mind - all the more so thanks to the fact that I had to work a 12 hour shift at the hospital on Turkey Day, which meant my family had to postpone the celebration until Black Friday. But oh my, was it worth the wait!

And so today we were left with the timeless question of what to do with all that leftover turkey. If truth be told, I'm not generally a huge fan of Thanksgiving turkey - I'd choose Christmas ham any day of the week. But good golly Miss Molly do I get excited about those inevitable turkey leftovers. Why?? Because I love pot pie. As in I consider it one of my all-time favorite comfort foods and would be strongly tempted to choose it for a last meal if forced to do so. Ahhhh it puts me in a thankful mood all over again - especially considering the fact that this dish, in full disclosure, was actually make by my loving mother, for me, as a special birthday dinner. ;-)

Clearly this dish can just as easily be made with chicken, which is the more common version. But I urge you, friends, to live on the wild side and use those turkey remnants as an excuse to enjoy every bite of the goodness that is flaky, buttery crust and savory, creamy poultry and veggies.

Turkey Pot Pie
Yield 6 servings

Savory pie dough topping:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3-4 tablespoons ice water


1 1/2 pounds pre-cooked turkey breasts and/or thighs, shred into bite-size pieces.
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium-large onion, finely chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 small celery ribs, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices
salt and ground pepper
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 tablespoons dry white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

for the topping:

Mix the flour and salt in a food processor. Scatter the butter pieces over the mixture and pulse in 1-second bursts until the flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no larger than small peas. Turn the mixture into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix the water in. Press down on the dough mixture with the broad side of the spatula until the dough sticks together, adding up to 1 tablespoon more ice water if the dough will not come together. Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a 4-inch wide disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 2 days before rolling.

for the filling:

Preheat the oven to 400°.

In a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until just tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the cooked vegetables to a bowl. Add the turkey, and set aside.

Heat the butter over medium heat in the now-empty pan. When the foaming subsides, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken broth, milk, and thyme. Bring to a simmer, then continue to simmer until the sauce fully thickens, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the wine.

Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the peas and parsley. Adjust the seasonings. (The mixture can be covered and refrigerated overnight; reheat before topping with the pastry.)

Pour the mixture into a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Roll the dough on a floured surface into a rectangle approximately 11x15 inches and 1/8 inch thick. Place the dough over the filling, trimming the dough that overhangs to within 1/2 inch of the pan lip. Tuck the overhanging dough back under itself so the folded edge is flush with the pan lip. Flute the edges all around. Cut at least four 1-inch vent holes in the crust.

Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Adapted from The New Best Recipe

Sunday, November 11, 2012

pumpkin blondies

When I discovered this recipe last year, I knew it was going to become a yearly staple in my kitchen. The first time I baked them was in Greenville, SC (one of my very favorite cities!) as a special treat for the resident physicians I was working with for a month...and they disappeared within a few hours. The second time I baked them was in Charlotte, NC (ahhh the Queen City) as a special treat for the resident physicians I was spending the following month with...and they disappeared within a few hours. And this year, I made them as a special treat for my coworkers...and - you guessed it - they disappeared within a few hours minutes. Sense a theme? :)

With their super moist texture, these bars, in all honesty, probably resemble cake more than blondies - not that that's a bad thing! The pumpkin flavor is predominant, shining through in all its glory, and is perfectly sweetened by the two types of chips.

As a bonus, these bars also freeze wonderfully. I reserved a few of them from my 'take to work' tray and stashed them in the freezer to save for a 'welcome back from Iraq' party (more on this later!), and the second version was just as delicious as the first. Simply allow them to thaw at room temperature and serve as usual.

Pumpkin Blondies

2 cups all1purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips, divided
1/2 cup chopped, toasted nuts (optional - I've never added them)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on the long sides.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and  sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin puree. With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chips 1 cup of the butterscotch chips (and the nuts, if using). 

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of butterscotch chips over the top. Bake until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Use the parchment paper/foil hangers to remove the bars from the pan. Cut into 24 squares and serve.

Adapted from Martha Stewart via Annie's Eats

Thursday, November 1, 2012

spaghetti squash with pomodoro sauce

I think it's probably safe to say that when most people - myself included - think of fall squash, butternut and acorn are likely the first varieties that come to mind. But, my friends, it would be a tragedy to not consider further and spend some time exploring the wonder that is spaghetti squash. Whether you're one who is hoping to sample another of this season's fresh goodies...or are simply looking to cut back a little on the refined grains in your diet...spaghetti squash is a delightful option.

As is, this recipe has been a fall go-to for me for a few years now. This time around, though, I decided to make a little addition to the sauce in the form of sliced mushrooms. Conclusion? You can't go wrong with either version. And, as a bonus, that little dash of red pepper flakes offers the perfect little kick to combat those quickly dropping temperatures from the inside out. Brrr y'all!

Spaghetti Squash with Pomodoro Sauce
Yield: 4 servings

1 spaghetti squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced (optional)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 28-ounce can whole or diced tomatoes in their juice
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
fresh basil or parsley

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat the oil with olive oil. Position the squash halves, flesh side down, on the sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until you can easily pierce the shell with a fork.

While the squash bakes, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Add the onion and mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an additional minutes, stirring often to ensure the garlic doesn't burn. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat, about 30 seconds. Carefully add the wine, working quickly to scrape the bottom of the pan free of residue. Add the tomatoes, seasonings, and red pepper flakes, stirring to mix. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. 

Remove the squash from the oven. Scrape crosswise to remove the strands from the shell. Plate and pour sauce over the squash. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Adapted from Epicurious