This cozy recipe for Turkey Pot Pies with Bacon, Caramelized Onions, and Butternut Squash is sponsored by the National Turkey Federation. All opinions are 100% my own.
This here, my friends, is fall on a plate. It’s basically the food equivalent of jumping in a pile of leaves while wearing an oversized sweater and plaid flannel scarf. It’s earthy, hearty, harvest inspired fare that warms the belly and feeds the soul. Fall food simply doesn’t get any better than this.
It’s no secret that I have a fondness for pot pie… well, all pie, really. My classic chicken pot pie is a tried and true recipe that I make every year as soon as the weather cools down enough to warrant having the oven on for that long. Then I developed a lighter, brighter version using seasonal spring veggies and an easy puff pastry top. Now, allow me to present you with this one: It has deep, slow-cooked flavor, a rustic whole wheat crust, and could not be more perfect for this time of year.
Turkey is a natural in the fall. As soon as November hits, everyone’s focus turns to the big bird. How do we cook it? How big should it be? Who’s coming to dinner? Thanksgiving is arguably everyone’s favorite meal, which is all the reason why we shouldn’t be limiting our turkey consumption to just one day out of the year. It’s time we start thinking about turkey during those other 11 months, and not just as lunch meat. Turkey is lean, flavorful, and readily available, not to mention, it’s quintessentially American.
This recipe is not only ideal for a cozy fall supper, but it’s great for using up Thanksgiving leftovers. The filling is so forgiving, it works with both white and dark meat, and you can easily add in some leftover corn, peas, brussels sprouts, green beans, or anything else you have laying around. You can even swap out the butternut squash for pumpkin, sweet potatoes, or another hard winter squash – the flavor will essentially be the same.
I’m a sucker for a homemade crust, but there is absolutely no reason why you can’t use a store-bought pie dough or even frozen puff pastry instead. There are some really good quality doughs on the market these days, and they tend to show up even more in November. I opt to use a little bit of whole wheat flour in my crust, in addition to all purpose, because it adds a really lovely nutty flavor that compliments the filling so well.
The best part of these pot pies is that they’re freezer friendly. You can make them up, crust-and-all, then freeze them unbaked (wrapped tightly). When you’re ready, pop them straight from the freezer into a 350 degree oven for about an hour, and they’re just as good as the day you made them. They’ll keep frozen for up to 6 months, but there’s no way you’ll ever be able to wait that long.
If you’re like us, you’ll gobble these up before they even have a chance to make it to the freezer. No pun intended… just kidding, it totally was. Gobble, gobble, gobble.
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- For the Crust:*
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour (you can sub all-purpose)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I prefer organic non-hydrogenated shortening)
- 1/4 ice water (or more as needed)
- 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for brushing the tops
- flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) and freshly cracked black pepper, for sprinkling
- 4 thick slices of bacon, diced
- 2 very large onions, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock
- 3 cups shredded cooked turkey meat
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups diced, roasted butternut squash**
- Combine both flours and salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter and shortening, then use a pastry cutter or fork to break down the fat until it becomes the size of peas.
- Pour in 1/4 cup of water and mix gently with a rubber spatula until the dough just starts to form a shaggy mass. Add more water one tablespoon at a time if needed. Use your hands to press the dough until it just comes together - do not overmix.
- Form the dough into a rectangular shape, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes (or up to two days). Dough can be made and frozen up to 6 months in advance.
- Add bacon to a large pot and saute over medium heat until crisp, about 8-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon to a dish, leaving most of the fat behind. Add onions and turn up the heat to high. Stir, then cover, and let cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Continue cooking, covered, then stirring every 5 minutes or so, adding a tablespoon water as needed to prevent sticking. When the onions are very soft and starting to darken in color, add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
- Continue cooking uncovered, stirring and adding water every so often to deglaze the bottom of the pan if it gets dry. Turn the heat down to medium, then cook until the onions and mushrooms are deep brown and caramelized, about 15 minutes more. Add garlic and sage, then cook for one to two minutes.
- Sprinkle flour over, then stir until incorporated. Add stock, turn the heat back up to high, and stir until it thickens. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Stir in the reserved bacon, turkey and heavy cream, then gently fold in the butternut squash, being careful not to mash it. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed (it will need it). Let mixture cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll crust out on a piece of parchment paper to a rectangle measuring 11"x16", then transfer to a sheet pan. Cut into 6 equal squares, then use the tip of your knife to score an X in the middle of each square. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, then chill until ready to use.
- Divide the turkey mixture into 6 4-oz ramekins, then place them on a sheet pan. Brush the perimeter of each ramekin with egg wash. Place a dough square on top of each ramekin, being sure to center the X as best as possible. Gently press down on the edges to create a seal, but don't press too hard or the dough will break. Brush all over with egg wash, then sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt and pepper.
- Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the dough is deep golden brown. Allow the pot pies to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.
- *Feel free to substitute a good quality store bought pie dough.
- **One 2 1/2-3 lb butternut squash will yield enough for this recipe. Peel, cube, then toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at 425 degrees until browned, about 20-30 minutes.