I Just ate a very good frozen dinner of turkey pot pie. I did not buy this pot pie at the grocery store, however. I made it on a lazy Saturday for baking at a later date. Tonight was a trial run for dishes for friends who are new parents.
It seems that all of our best friends are having babies (seriously like 5 or 6 couples we know either recently had babies or will have babies in the near future)! Two couples we know recently had babies within a month of each other. As my friends are new parents and are juggling sleepless nights and fussy babies with their hectic careers, I thought I’d come to the rescue with some freezable meals to bring over that will require virtually no fuss or muss. I also decided that I’d make three or four dishes for them, so they’d be squared away for a week or two. One has to figure that they have more important things to deal with than dinner.
I did a little research on meals that freeze very well, and I came across chicken pot pie. I figure that this would be a perfect meal to make first as I think it would keep the longest, if stored properly. My chief concerns with coming up with these meals was one, giving my friends a little time to get some routine down (so the food would have to live in my freezer for a few weeks until we had the all clear visit the babies); and two, making the meals at a somewhat leisurely pace so I’m not in the kitchen for 2 straight days stressfully trying to make several things. I haven’t decided all the meals yet, but I’m thinking the next two dishes will be some sort of stew (leaning toward chili) and a pre-baked lasagna. Either way, I plan on only making a dish or two a weekend.
Turkey pot pie is a dish of leftovers basically, but it’s the middle of July. I don’t have any Thanksgiving leftovers lying around, so I turned to Beatriz’s favorite piece of kitchen equipment, the pressure cooker. I pretty much improvised a very good recipe, but I’ll see if I can replicate it here (MAKES 3 PIES):
5 lbs. of turkey meat (I used a breast and 3 drum sticks)
1 leek, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
3-4 carrots, sliced
1 32 oz. carton of Chicken stock
1 bag frozen pearl onions
1 bag frozen peas
1-2 tbs of ground sage
1-2 tbs rosemary
2 tbs butter
3-4 tbs of flour
3 refrigerator pie crusts (sheets)
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Add turkey (plus 1 whole carrot, 1 whole celery stalk, and maybe an onion), and stock in the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for about 30 minutes. Release the pressure (either slow release method or fast) and remove turkey. Allow turkey to cool and shred meat and set aside (discard the bones). strain broth, and skim fat (either with a gravy separator or put in freezer for 45 minutes to skim fat layer). Reserve stock.
Place pressure cooker (or large pot) on stove and heat at medium heat. Place butter in pot and saute leek, carrots and celery for a couple of minutes. Add garlic. Add flour and stir. Add stock, turkey, herbs, and seasoning (do not add frozen vegetables yet), and bring to a boil, and then simmer on stove top for 30-40 minutes. Adjust the seasoning and if the broth is too thin, add a mixture of flour and water and thicken to desired consistency (mine was a bit thin, but not too thin). Add frozen vegetables and bring to a boil and simmer for about 10-12 more minutes. Allow mixture to totally cool and ladle mixture in 8X8 baking dish (I used disposable foil dishes).
Unroll pie crust and place a crust over each dish containing the cooled pie mixture. Fold the edges over to make a “crust” sealing the edges against the baking dish. Make 4 slits in top of pie for venting.
To store for freezing. Wrap the crusts in plastic cling wrap and then wrap tightly all around in foil paper, doing both will help protect from freezer burn.
To bake, place frozen pie uncovered in 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until thawed. Raise temperature to 350 and bake 20-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.