Easy Leftover Turkey (or Chicken) Pot Pie

November 26, 2012

OneHungryMama easy chicken pot pie

My affair with puff pastry continues. I first professed my love for the buttery dough when I shared my recipe for this easy Beet and Feta Tart. It was the second time I’d made a tart using puff pastry after this Zucchini Tomato Pesto Tart. Since puff pastry served me well on the bottom, it was time to give it a chance to be on top.

(Is it me, or is this post taking an unexpected turn towards the obscene?)

I made this easy pot pie using leftover Thanksgiving turkey, but you can use roast chicken just as well. If you’re craving pot pie and don’t want to wait until you have leftovers, quick cook chicken thighs specifically for this dish. Poaching is my preferred method: bring water and/or broth to a low boil and add chicken until cooked through. Add washed, roughly chopped carrots, celery, onion and/or whole peppercorns for extra flavor.

With cooked protein and thawed puff pastry at the ready, this comes together in just a few steps. The recipe is also easily adapted: skip the mushrooms, add potatoes or throw in peppers. It’s all good. How could chicken and veggies tossed in a velvety sauce and topped with puffed buttery layers of dough not be?

OneHungryMama easy chicken pot pie

OneHungryMama easy chicken pot pie

(Leftover) Turkey or Chicken Pot Pie
(can be shared with kids 8+ mos)*
Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons butter, divided
3 carrots, washed & chopped into 1/4″ pieces
2 stalks celery, washed & chopped into 1/4″ pieces
1 leek, trimmed, washed and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups cooked turkey or chicken meat
3.5 oz mushrooms, washed and chopped (I like using chanterelles)
1/2 cup white wine (you can substitute broth)
2 1/2 cups milk, divided
1/4 cup flour
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 sheets (or approximately 16 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add carrots, celery, leek, thyme, salt and pepper; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 8 minutes. Add turkey or chicken, mushrooms and white wine or broth (homemade turkey or chicken stock if you have it—if you poached chicken to make this, the cooking liquid will do—otherwise low sodium chicken broth). Continue cooking until the liquid cooks off. Transfer meat and veggies to a plate.

2. Return pan to medium heat and melt remaining tablespoon of butter. Add 1 cup of milk and, with a whisk ready in hand, sprinkle the flour over the milk. Whisk until no lumps remain, then add remaining milk. Cook for one minute to bring the sauce together, then remove from heat. Pour sauce over meat and veggies, add lemon zest and stir to combine well. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Pour mixture into a 2 quart casserole dish and top with puff pastry.

3. Using a sharp paring knife, cut a few slits into the puff pastry. Brush the top with egg. Bake, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, until dough puffs up and turns golden brown.

*Note: To share with beginner eaters, scoop out meat and veggie filling and pulse in a food processor until desired consistency. You can add small, torn pieces of crust for children already safely managing finger foods.

21 Responses

  1. Leslie says:

    Do you have a vegetarian suggestion for a pot pie? Could I simply eliminate the meat?

  2. Funny, Leslie, I was thinking about that as I whipped this up the other day. You can’t just eliminate the meat—it makes up the bulk of the filling, but you can substitute mushrooms. Forget about the 3.5 ounce of mushrooms called for here and, instead, substitute 2 1/2 cups mixed mushrooms for the meat. If you don’t love mushrooms enough to do that, you could also substitute white beans or lots more mixed veggies. The goal would be to get at least 2 1/2 additional cups of veggies in there as a swap to the meat. Some suggestions: cut up green beans, hunks of squash (which will need to suate longer; add them in step 1 with carrots, etc.), asparagus, broccoli, sweet potato. Mix and match your favorites.

    Hope that helps!

    S, xo

  3. Leslie says:

    Sounds great with all the mushrooms! But maybe I could hide some protein in there too with the beans. I will have to try it this week. Thanks!

  4. chad henry says:

    I wonder what else would work for a protein? Maybe sauteed firm tofu, or seitan (wheat gluten) or tempeh. Admittedly not everyone’s into soy, or gluten, and tempeh would have to be cooked soft for kiddies. There’s also TVP, which can get mushy, but works well. Maybe these are for the slightly more adventurous or determinedly vegan/vegetarian. Personally, I like the mushroom idea.

  5. One Hungry Mama says:

    @Chad: As a non-vegetarian who isn’t dedicated to these kinds of ingredients/doesn’t always have them on hand, I’d opt for just a bunch of veggies and maybe beans for a protein boost. But I think that you’re right about extra firm tofu of seitan or tempeh working well. Thanks for your thoughts!

  6. Valerie says:

    I found this on foodgawker and made it tonight. Let me tell you… my partner and I cannot stop talking about it. I did make a couple of changes, just for preference, and also ended up adding 1c of wine instead of 1/2 on accident, which actually was delicious! I used the rolled up pie crusts for the bottom and top of the pie and omitted the celery and mushrooms since we didn’t have any. One of our favorite dishes so far!! Thanks!

  7. emmy says:

    I made this tonight and it was a huge hit; I served it to 5 with some roasted new potatoes and a big green salad. I was looking for a leftover-roast-fowl pot pie and this did the trick! I used a scratch biscuit dough for the top, and a combination of wild mushrooms for the fungal ingredient, and wanted to point out that you should never wash Chanterelles, Morels, or other very-veiny mushrooms, as they will become soggy and the flavor will suffer- just brush them off very well or trim a bit off with a paring knife. Added to the last-minute recipe repertoire!

  8. One Hungry Mama says:

    So glad that you liked this, Emmy. And you’re absolutely right about chanterelles and morels. Honestly, I don’t submerge most mushrooms. I indicate wash since most people use white button mushrooms and do wash them, but it’s a great note to add. Thank you!

  9. amberremer says:

    I am looking forward to trying this recipe! Do you have any suggestions about an onion free modification? My husband is allergic to all forms of onions but can eat garlic. It’s tricky to figure how to get a comparable flavor or what to use as a substitution!
    Thank you!

  10. Susan says:

    Looking forward to making this in a few days,(on my way to the store). does this freeze well. I was thinking of splitting the recipe into two dishes.

  11. One Hungry Mama says:

    @Susan – I believe it will freeze well. Then you can just pop dinner out of the freezer! Tell me how you like the recipe.

  12. One Hungry Mama says:

    @amberremer – it’s true that it’ll be hard to recreate the flavor of leeks without using anything in the onion family. I’d just throw in some chopped garlic instead, to help build a depth of flavor. 2 cloves should do the trick. Let me know how it goes!

  13. Larkin says:

    Hey, just a suggestion– it’s much easier to start with a roux to make a thickened sauce. If you sprinkle flour over a liquid, you will have to whisk fiercely to not get lumps. Instead, melt the butter, add an equal amount of flour (i.e. 2 tbsp. butter add 2 tbsp. flour) Heat for just a bit to alleviate the raw flour taste, then add whatever liquid (stock, cream etc) to make your sauce. Easy peasy, and no lumps.

  14. S.R. says:

    Made this tonight with thawed leftover Christmas Turkey, GREAT FLAVOR-used the wine! Didn’t have lemon zest, but had salt with lemon rind in it, worked great. My thought is it would be great meatless option too…use peas and lentils for to replace meat??? Lentils give texture.

  15. Maria says:

    Planning on making this tonight. One question- in the picture it looks like there are peas in it, yet they are not listed in the ingredients. Planning on using fresh peas in mine and hoping they do not get mushy. I’m also planning on lining the top with thinly sliced potato instead of the puff pastry. I love puff pastry but I already have the potatoes sliced and leftover from another recipe!

  16. Elinor says:

    Can you freeze before or after cooking?

  17. Melinda says:

    Wondering if this can be frozen with the pastry on the top? It was really tasty by the way. The puff pastry was a little doughy on mine, so I might need to cook it a bit longer next time.

  18. One Hungry Mama says:


    Puff pastry usually comes frozen, so I wouldn’t refreeze it. If you find (or make!) it fresh, I bet you can freeze with the raw pastry dough on top, just be extra sure to wrap the whole thing tightly to protect it.

    If you mean can you freeze it with the dough on top after it’s been cooked, I’d say that’s highly unlikely to defrost/reheat well.

    Hope this helps and enjoy! – S

  19. amaris says:

    Hi I am making this tonight. I am confused as to why the recipe calls for two puff pastry sheets but is only covered with one. Do I layer them on top of each other?


  20. One Hungry Mama says:

    That’s just the amount it took to cover my casserole — 16 oz, which comes in two sheets by the brand I prefer. However much it takes to top it with a single layer, that’s what you should use. Enjoy!

  21. Ken says:

    Just made this, and it made our night! My wife said it was flavourful, and creamy. Outstanding recipe, and easy to make for this picky novice . Thank you so much1HM!

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