Saturday, January 18, 2014

Simply Recipes: Cajun Turkey Pot Pie

When the holidays are all over, and you have a freezer full of turkey leftovers, you start searching, somewhat desperately, for something to do with them.  Turkey is delicious and all, but it definitely needs some help in the flavor area.  So when I came across this spicy pot pie, I decided it was the perfect opportunity for my leftover turkey to shine.  Now, the original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of packaged Cajun seasoning, or an "alternative" mix.  The alternative mix did not have any cayenne pepper.  I'm not sure what Cajun seasoning looks like in other states, but here in Texas, we get the real thing from our next door neighbors.  And the second ingredient is...cayenne pepper.  If you used 2 tablespoons of that stuff, you'd be scraping the charred remains of your tongue out of your mouth.  So I reworked the recipe to use the "alternative" spice mixture and added a little bit of cayenne, just enough to make it interesting.  I also replaced the pie crust with a puff pastry, mostly because I just didn't feel like messing with pie crust after all that holiday cooking I finished.

Cajun Turkey Pot Pie
Adapted from Simply Recipes blog

5 tablespoons peanut oil or unsalted butter
3 celery stalks, chopped
1½ cups chopped yellow or white onion
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, deveined and seeded, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups diced, cooked turkey meat
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon dried thyme
1½ teaspoons paprika
1½ teaspoons garlic powder
1½ teaspoons onion powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2½ cups turkey or chicken stock
1 cup dark beer (brown ale or Guinness)
1 (14½-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted

Heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion, celery, green pepper, and jalapeño, stirring often, until they are soft, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, turkey meat, and all seasonings (through cayenne pepper). Mix well and cook another 1 minute, stirring once or twice.

Bring the stock and beer to a boil in a small pot. Sprinkle the flour over the turkey and veggies and mix well. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often and making sure no flour burns on the bottom of the pan. Slowly pour in the hot stock-beer mixture, stirring. It will seize up at first, then, as you pour in more stock and stir, will form a silky sauce for the turkey. Add the tomatoes and cook until the mixture thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the heavy cream and parsley, and taste to see if the seasoning needs to be adjusted.  Pour the filling into a 2-quart square casserole.

Lay the puff pastry onto the filling. Bake at 375°F for about 20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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