We always have turkey for Thanksgiving and prime rib for Christmas, with all the fixin’s, of course. It’s a tradition to make my mom’s turkey croquettes, and I always use the turkey carcass to make homemade stock, which I use in my classic turkey noodle soup. If you have bones from a prime rib, you can also make beef stock using the same method. (You can find the recipes for my mom’s croquettes and my easy turkey stock at www.marinatimes.com.)
These mini pot-pies can be made with either turkey or beef. They’re incredibly simple, and even if you’re tired of the star ingredient, the supporting players shine through to create a satisfying and comforting dish perfect for a cold winter’s night.
MINI TURKEY OR BEEF POTPIES
2 cups turkey or prime rib
1 large or 2–3 small-to-medium russet potatoes
¼ cup carrots
¼ cup frozen peas
3 cups turkey or beef gravy
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, minced (optional)
Handful of fresh Italian parsley, minced (optional)
1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed, or 1 box of Pillsbury refrigerated piecrust (2 crusts per box)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Cut meat into chunks and set aside. Cut potatoes and carrots into 1-inch cubes, and in a medium stockpot, cook until just tender. Add frozen peas and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer.
In a medium pot or sauté pan, heat gravy (thin with milk if necessary). Add vegetables, meat, thyme leaves, and parsley if using (set aside a few pinches of parsley for garnish), and stir until well combined.
Set individual-sized ovenproof ramekins (11 ounce) on a foil- or parchment-lined baking pan and ladle mixture into the ramekins, filling almost to the top.
Proceed with instructions below according to your preferred crust.
Spread one thawed pastry sheet flat on a lightly floured surface. Cut into four equal-sized square portions.
Place a single square on top of each ramekin, and brush top of pastry with egg wash (two eggs beat with one teaspoon water).
Put pies in oven and immediately reduce heat to 400 degrees. Cook until pastry is puffed, cooked through, and golden brown (about 40 minutes). Sprinkle with remaining fresh parsley and freshly cracked salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.
Roll out one crust on a lightly floured surface. Place an empty ramekin upside down, and using a paring knife, carefully draw a circle around it that is one inch larger than the ramekin.
Gently lay crust on top of each ramekin, and using a fork, press down the crust around the edges to create a seal. Make several small slits in the top of the crust for venting, and brush with egg wash (see Puff Pastry above).
Follow baking and serving instructions for Puff Pastry above.