I will never tire of eating a turkey or chicken pot pie, nor will I tire of writing about a pot pie made from chicken or turkey. The problem is that in order to make a good poultry pot pie, leftover roasted meat and gravy (preferably giblet gravy) are critical ingredients to a perfectly baked pot pie.
This is the dilemma. If you have leftover turkey from a holiday meal, you can typically make two pot pies from the leftover meat and leftovers from a roasted chicken from Sunday dinner will provide enough meat for a pot pie. A 9 inch deep pie dish uses 3 cups of leftover meat for the pot pie. So what is the dilemma? How does one enjoy a pot pie at a date other than soon after the original meal?
One answer is that you could simply mix all of the ingredients for the filling together and freeze the filling for later use in a pot pie. Likewise, you could make the pot pie and freeze the entire pot pie, dish and all, but that uses a lot of space in the freezer not to mention ties up a pie dish until you bake the pot pie. Both options are viable, but this still only provides one meal and maybe some leftovers if you show some portion control.
There is a third option, one that has been staring at me each time I walk through the baking aisle of the grocery store. Instead of making one large pot pie to be frozen, why not utilize the small aluminum pie dishes that are about the same size as the frozen pot pies available for purchase in the frozen food section of the grocery store?
They key difference between a normal pot pie in a deep pie dish and an individual sized pot pie dish is that in order to have the same balance of pie crust to filling, the pie shell needs to be rolled out extra thin for the individual sized pot pie. Not only does this create a perfectly balanced experience between pot pie filling and pastry, but also extends the use of the pie shell to make multiple small sized pot pies. In my experience, the prepackaged pie shells (two shells) per package will make 3 – 4 individual sized pot pies.
In preparation for making the individual sized pot pies, you will need to prepare the filling, purchase the pie shells and the individual aluminum pot pie dishes. The measurements and instructions in the post: Nothing Better Than a Homemade Chicken Pot Pie will provide you with enough ingredients to make four individual sized pot pies. To be on the safe side, purchase an extra package of prepared pie shells in the event that you have difficulty rolling the pastry crust thin or tear the rolled out crust one too many times. Prepared pastry pie shells are not that expensive, so why risk being short of pie shells?
- On a surface dusted with flour, unroll the first pie crust and with a dusted rolling pin carefully roll out the pastry crust until it is very thin.
- Place the small aluminum pie dish upside down on the rolled out pie shell. Using the back end of a wooden spoon or a plastic pastry knife, cut out a circle about ¾” away from the edge of the dish. The bottom pie shell needs to be of a larger diameter then the pie dish to accommodate the depth of the dish.
- Move the upside down pie dish to the next section of the rolled out pie dough and cut a circle of dough with the same dimensions of the top of the aluminum pie dish.
- Take the larger circle of rolled out pie shell and carefully mold it to the inside of the aluminum pie dish with the edges of the bottom pie shell slightly over the lip of the pie dish.
- Ladle the pot pie filling into to pie dish until the filling is level with the top of the dish.
- Then place the smaller pie shell circle on top.
- To seal the top shell to the bottom shell you can either roll the bottom shell over the top pie shell or with a fork crimp the two shells together. I prefer to roll the two shells together with my fingers. Bringing the two shells together this way makes for a tight seal and for a nice bite of crust when eating the baked pot pie.
- With a sharp knife, cut a few holes into the top pie shell to allow the steam to escape when baking.
- Then brush the top with either milk or an egg wash.
- Cover the top of the pot pie with the plastic lid if provided and then place in the freezer.
Repeat these steps for each subsequent pot pie until the entire pot pie filling, pie shells and pie dishes have been used.
Baking the Frozen Pot Pies:
To bake these frozen pot pies, the oven will need to preheat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the plastic lid and place the aluminum pot pies on the baking tray and bake for 45 – 55 minutes.
When the top crust is golden brown or the pot pie filling is starting to flow through the steam vents in the crust, you will know that the pot pie is ready to eat. Remove from the oven and allow the pot pie to cool for 5 minutes.
I am no stranger to a homemade pot pie and I can say that these individual sized, perfectly portioned pot pies were probably the best that I have ever made. Not because the flavor was any better than previous pot pies, but because the individual serving ensured that each person enjoying their pot pie received the same amount of gravy as everyone else. Whereas, a large pie dish the hot gravy is difficult to portion out properly, leaving some bites with less gravy than other bites, there was nowhere for the gravy to escape in the pie dish so each bit of pot pie was perfect. In addition to this, because the serving was an individual pot pie, there was finally portion control and constraint.
Whether enjoyed alone or with others having their own individually served turkey pot pie, these small pot pies are a perfect solution to enjoying the flavors of a homemade pot pie made from the leftovers of the holiday turkey any time of the year.
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