I did something rather silly last week. On Halloween, I took a full turkey breast out of the freezer to thaw. It takes a few days to thaw in the fridge, and it wasn’t until later in the week that it occured to me that Thanksgiving was fast approaching. Yes, I know Thanksgiving is in November, but it just didn’t seem like it should be Thanksgiving yet.
It was too late to put the turkey back in the freezer, so on Friday night, B and I had a nice turkey dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy, courtesy of my favorite easy recipe. Now, two people can’t really put that much of a dent in a turkey breast, so I had lots of leftovers.
I generally don’t like leftover mashed potatoes but thought I could make a variation of a cottage pie with turkey, and simply use my basic pot pie recipe for the filling, substituting about a cup of shredded turkey for the chicken breast. With this version, rather than go out to buy a bag of frozen vegetables (I generally use a mix of broccoli/cauliflower/carrots for my pot pies – not traditional, but I feel better when I don’t include heavy, starchy vegetables), I used what I had in my fridge.
It all came together rather quickly, which was nice. I immediately started thinking that it could be a useful recipe post-Thanksgiving, when you simply can’t face another turkey sandwich.
Turkey Cottage Pie
1 cup cooked turkey breast, shredded
salt & pepper
1 cup chicken/turkey stock
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon half and half
1/2 cup chopped green beans or asparagus
1/2 cup diced carrots
generous sprinkle poultry seasoning or herbs de provence
leftover mashed potatoes
paprika and freshly ground black pepper for garnish
In a small saucepan, heat the chicken/turkey stock over medium-high heat. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sweat the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the carrots and sauté until soft. Add beans/asparagus and cook until bright green.
Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes until the flour scent is gone, but the color hasn’t yet turned dark. Slowly add the hot stock to the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, whisking, until thick. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir in half and half. Add the turkey and a sprinkle of poultry seasoning, if using. Taste for seasoning, adjust as needed.
If using leftover, cold mashed potatoes, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Divide the filling equally among 2 oven- and broiler-proof bowls and top with mashed potatoes*. Sprinkle potatoes with paprika and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes if potatoes are leftover and cold. (If potatoes are warm, proceed to next step.)
Broil cottage pies 6-8 inches from the broiler until the potatoes start to brown. Remove from oven and enjoy (but remember the dishes are HOT!)