Friday, November 23, 2007


I meant to take a picture of this before we ate it but I forgot. I took our leftover turkey and made a turkey pot pie. I read Michael Ruhlman's The Making of a Chef about the training at the Culinary Institute of America. In the first real cooking class the students take, Skills I, they start with the classic French sauces. Ruhlman becomes obsessed with a particular sauce, the most basic sauce of sauces, the brown or espagnole sauce. Making the sauce starts with a brown roux. Flour slowly cooked in butter until it is a nutty brown color. The classic espagnole sauce then adds veal stock, vegetables and tomatoes. I was thinking a lot about the roux. I've never made a brown roux. Walter Jon Williams routinely makes a black roux for his Black Roux Gumbo (it's actually a very dark brown roux because the technique requires that the roux come right to the edge of scorching and then stops) but me, I just never have.

I also decided I didn't want a pie crust for my pot pie. So I made a pate brisse, a French pastry crust with butter used as the shortening which is shorter and richer than the traditional pie crust.

I blanched and shocked my green beans. Then I sauteed my onions with garlic and added some carrots. I put that aside. Then I made my roux. I did not go all the way to dark brown, but I did get a good amount of nutty browness, then added my turkey stock from yesterday's turkey carcass. I splashed some Riesling, cooked it to thicken a moment, then put my vegetables and some chopped roasted turkey meat in it and poured it in a baking dish. Then I plunked my rolled out pate brisse on top and baked it until the crust was golden brown.

Served it with a salad and cranberry sauce and it was a pretty good use of leftovers. The family found it tasty and comforting. Nothing about it suggested that it was a recipe arising out of my obsession with cooking technique. I liked the whole idea a lot, that you could come to my house and have this pot pie that was just like a frozen pot pie except it was really really good. You wouldn't know it was good because the base was a French roux of butter and flour, or that cooking the flour until it is brown cooks out the 'floury' taste and creates a kind to nutty flavor that adds a bit of sweetness and richness. You wouldn't know that I used a rather dry Riesling and that just a taste of that added complexity to the gravy. You wouldn't know that I blanched the green beans so they would cook enough but still have some greeness in their taste. You wouldn't know that the crust on top has to be made in stages because the butter has to be kept cold. Not as touchy as puff pastry, but headed in that direction.

You'd just think, wow, this is a good thing to do with leftovers. Like Bob and Adam did. (Although Bob did say, 'You're amazing.' He's a good guy.)


Blogger Steven Gould said...

Wow--for us it was green chile turkey enchiladas.

November 24, 2007 12:12 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Steve, I love green chiles. And the availability of green sauce is one of the joys of Austin.

November 24, 2007 10:15 AM  
Blogger Responsible Artist said...

It looks very, very good. Since we went to someone's house we didn't get leftovers and I really want a turkey sandwich. I want a little bit of leftovers but not a lot of them. Spouse hates soup, doesn't much care for turkey but would eat a sandwich. I want a hot turkey sandwich and a cold one. So I've decided to make a turkey and sell shares of it to others nearby who need leftovers.

November 24, 2007 7:27 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

You know, I think there's probably a surprising market for people who didn't get turkey leftovers. This year's turkey smaller than it should have been and I did not get to send leftovers home with many people. So we're done with leftovers now.

And in fact, I may require that we go out to dinner tomorrow.

November 24, 2007 11:33 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

Me, I've just been having Thanksgiving over and over again.

There wasn't just turkey to roll over, there was garlic mashed potatoes and stuffing and gravy and cranberry relish.

We haven't run out of =any= of that stuff yet.

And--- just as an aside--- I'm generally much better at roux than at gravy. I don't know why, I'm just weird that way.

November 25, 2007 7:08 PM  
Blogger mary grimm said...

I've been making roux since I was 12 and my mother taught me how to make white sauce for macaroni and cheese (didn't know it had a French name, of course). But I've never made brown roux either: must try it.

November 27, 2007 11:14 AM  

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