The week after Thanksgiving, leftover turkey is a welcome ingredient in all sorts of meals. Last year, Locavore Cooking offered Turkey Risotto; this year, we suggest a form of potpie (or, some would say, turkey and dumplings) that I call Leftover Turkey Cobbler.
It’s difficult to delineate the differences between potpie and cobbler. I think of potpies as having a very short, pastry-top crust, whereas biscuit dough is associated with both savory and fruity cobbler.
The virtues of a main dish potpie cannot be overstated. You can use the cornucopia of Thanksgiving leftovers combined with finds from the farmers’ market the Saturday after turkey day. Leftover gravy is mixed with homemade stock from your giant poultry carcass, and voilà: In a very few minutes of prep time, you’ve got a warming winter casserole that cooks in the oven while you play board games with friends and family or take a walk in the autumn woods. Savory cobblers are almost complete meals in themselves, though a side of sautéed greens or salad rounds them out nicely. Serving them with a hearty red wine prolongs the sense of grateful feasting.
Cook’s Note: All of the vegetables in this recipe are currently available at farmers’ markets.
Leftover Turkey Cobbler
For the filling: 2 tablespoons each butter and canola oil 1 cup diced onion or leek 1 cup chopped celery leaf (or ordinary celery) 1 cup sliced carrot or peeled and cubed (uncooked) winter squash 1/4 cup each chopped fresh parsley and sage leaves 1 cup broccoli florets, halved if large 1 cup turkey stock, plus additional to add to gravy Leftover turkey gravy combined with stock to equal 1 quart Flour as needed to thicken the sauce 3 to 4 cups leftover turkey-off-the-bone Salt, pepper and sweet paprika to taste
For the biscuit topping: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon Crisco-type shortening 1 cup buttermilk 1/4 cup minced chives, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large, deep skillet (cast iron is ideal if you have one, because it goes straight from stove top into oven), sauté onion, celery leaf and carrots or squash in butter and oil until softened but not brown, about 5 minutes (carrots or squash will not be cooked through, but they will be softer). Add broccoli and herbs, stirring to combine. Stir in 1 cup stock and bring to a boil. Add the leftover gravy-stock combination and, when incorporated, bring the whole to a bubble. If sauce is too watery, whisk in 1-2 tablespoons of flour; sauce will continue thickening while baking with the biscuit topping. If not baking cobbler in the skillet, transfer to a 2-quart casserole baking dish.
Prepare the topping by pulsing all ingredients (including the chives, if using) in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add buttermilk all at once and pulse two or three times to combine just enough so that all traces of flour are “wet.” Spoon as you would drop biscuits onto the turkey-vegetable-sauce mixture, and spread to cover the filling as far as it will go. Bake at 400 degrees about 20-25 minutes, until biscuit top is cooked through and golden brown and sauce bubbles up around edges. (There aren’t usually leftovers of this at my house, so I don’t know how it reheats.)