Turkey and Cranberry Pot Pie
Pot pies are nothing more than stews topped with pastry. They tend toward the labor-intensive end of the convenience cooking spectrum, but the slow cooker (and the life-saving assistance of refrigerated piecrust) streamlines the problem areas dramatically. The real trick is the thermodynamic properties of slow cooker crockery. The crock of a slow cooker is designed to heat gradually and hold onto its heat for a long time. Because of that, you can top any stew made in a slow cooker with pastry, biscuit dough, or dumplings right in the crockery, and pop it in a hot oven to brown. The presentation is impressive, and the technique couldn’t be easier.
Precook: 15 to 20 minutes
Slow cook: 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low in a 5- to 6-quart cooker
At the end: 25 minutes
Makes 6 servings
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless turkey thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
8 medium mushrooms, sliced
2 red-skin or golden potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Pie dough for a 9-inch piecrust, prepared refrigerated or homemade
Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning in a medium-large mixing bowl. Add the turkey meat and toss until the pieces are thoroughly coated; pat off the excess flour and reserve.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the turkey pieces in batches, about 2 minutes per side; do not crowd the pan, and add more oil if the pan should become dry. Transfer the browned turkey to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker as it is browned.
Add more oil to the skillet, if needed, and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, and potatoes and saut‚ until the vegetables lose their raw look, stirring often, about 4 minutes.
Add the reserved seasoned flour mixture and stir until the vegetables are well coated. Add the chicken broth and heat to boiling, stirring constantly, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Transfer to the slow cooker, add the dried cranberries, and stir so that everything is well mixed. Cover the cooker and cook for 3 to 4 hours on high, or 6 to 8 hours on low.
Preheat an oven to 375øF. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Remove the lid from the cooker and dry with a paper towel. Lay the lid on the dough and use it as a template to cut the dough in the shape of the lid. Roll up the edges of the dough all the way around so that the dough will fit neatly over the turkey stew. Remove the crock from the slow cooker and lay the dough on top of the stew. Cut several slits in the middle of the crust and bake until browned, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Make a homier version of pot pie using biscuit dough rather than pastry. Just make up a batch of your favorite biscuit recipe (it’s fine to use a mix). Roll out and cut to the shape of the crock or as individual biscuits and place on top. Bake as you would a piecrust.
You can also go opulent by replacing the piecrust with frozen puff pastry; bake according to the package directions.