“My mom is from Canada and my dad is from Italy, so there was always a difference in the way they would cook, especially when it came to comfort food,” recalls Alessandro Vianello, executive chef of Vancouver’s Kitchen Table Restaurants. “My dad would always make tortellini in brodo after Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the bones from the bird. My mom would always make this dish.”
As a teenager, coming home to his mom’s deep-dish turkey pot pie meant finally getting a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family after working through the holiday. “So this meal, for me, was something that I could have with my family the day after and still get to feel like I was a part of the celebration.”
He also appreciates his mother’s recipe for the efficient way in which it makes use of all the leftovers. “It uses everything up,” he says. “I don’t like wasting food.”
Vianello, who trained in both Tuscany and Vancouver, suggests using homemade stock or gravy to make the sauce extra flavourful. Another tip is to make sure that your butter is cold for the biscuits. “I would even suggest making the biscuits and then putting them in the fridge for a little bit before you bake the dish,” he says. “This will give you a better rise on the biscuits.”
Deep-Dish Turkey Pot Pie
For the pie filling:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 celery stalks
1 medium yellow onion
1 garlic clove, diced
3 to 4 cups of leftover turkey meat (remove bones and skin, dice meat into 2-centimetre cubes/pieces)
1 litre chicken stock (homemade if you’ve kept the bones from your turkey, or store-bought will do just fine)
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning or savoury seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
For the baking powder biscuits
1.5 cups white all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
0.5 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter
1 cup buttermilk
For the gravy:
2 tablespoons of flour (white flour if you have it; cornstarch works well too)
Leftover gravy if you have any from the turkey feast
For the pie filling:
In a heavy ovenproof Dutch oven, add the butter and cooking oil, then melt the butter on medium heat on the stovetop.
Add coarsely cut celery, carrots, and onion. Sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add diced garlic and stir for another couple of minutes.
Add diced turkey meat.
Cover the ingredients with chicken stock—if you don’t have enough, top up with either water or white wine. Add seasoning. Cover and simmer on low for 25 to 30 minutes.
For the baking powder biscuits:
These are a basic savoury biscuit that are also great on their own with any added savoury flavouring, Parmesan cheese, a tablespoon of pesto, roasted garlic, or anything you have on hand. For the top of the pot pie, you can stick with the basic biscuit.
While the filling is simmering, start your biscuits.
Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C
In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a fork.
Add the 6 tablespoons of butter cut into cubes about 1 centimetre in size.
Use your hands to break up the butter in the dry ingredients until the pieces of butter are the size of small peas (not too fine).
Add the buttermilk to the mixture of dry ingredients and butter. Stir with a fork just to moisten the dry ingredients.
Turn out the dough onto a floured counter and knead for 1 minute to just bring the ingredients together—you want it rustic.
Return the dough to the bowl and let it rest for 10 minutes.
Place the rested dough on a floured counter and, with your hands or a rolling pin, spread out the dough so that it is about 1.5 centimetres thick. Use either a circular biscuit cutter or an upturned glass 2.5 to 3 centimetres in diameter and cut out biscuits from the dough.
Gather up the leftover dough, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits. Repeat until you run out of dough. Don’t overhandle the dough. Set aside.
For the gravy:
Remove the cover from the Dutch oven. With a ladle, scoop 1/2 cup of the broth from the Dutch oven into a bowl, and stir in 2 tablespoons of flour or cornstarch until smooth and without lumps. Return broth-flour mixture into the Dutch oven and heat through to thicken the broth to gravy consistency. Stir in up to 1 cup of leftover gravy from the turkey feast.
Place cut-out biscuits on top of the pot pie filling right in the Dutch oven. Put the Dutch oven into the preheated oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.
Remove and serve in pasta-sized bowls. If you have any biscuits left after you’ve covered the pot pie filling, they can be baked in the oven to accompany the meal. Enjoy!
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