Turkey soup, again?
Surely, you can’t be serious. “I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.”
Now that you’ve had your pop culture reference for the day, I’m totally serious about the turkey soup.
I don’t really care for turkey or chicken soup and I don’t want any more of it this year. I want something different to do with my leftover turkey, something bold and something with tons of flavor.
While I’m being bossy, I want something I can make ahead and freeze for later in the winter and I want something everyone in the family will eat. And oh, yeah, can it be portable?
At this point in my ramble, my mother would usually speak up with “Oh Mary, really…” My mom is the only person who gets to call me Mary, MaryJune, or Lady Jane Grey. I only got that one when I was in deep trouble. That, of course, was after she had given the rundown of everyone else in the house “Andrew, Mark, Angus (the cat), Cat (the other cat)… whoever I’m looking for!”‘ Did your mom do that, too, when she was mad? Susan and Frank in our test kitchen are both from big families, and they say this was a regular occurrence in the house when a mama was out for your hide. And that’s exactly what you did… hide!
I’m not trying to be unreasonable in my request, Mom, really. I just want something a little different to perk up the after Thanksgiving turkey-o-rama. Hey, what about those samosas we made a few weeks ago? Well, what if we take that great quick pastry and make a spicy tomato-chili filling? This is starting to sound like quite a plan. Let’s work up a batch and call them Turkey Chili Hand Pies. Here we go!
Begin by sautéing 1 cup of onion and 2 minced cloves of garlic in a touch of oil or water until the onion is translucent.
Add 1 tablespoon chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon each cumin, salt, and pepper. Usually I like to sauté the spices in the pan with the onions and garlic for a minute before adding the can of tomatoes, but here I got a little ahead of myself and added everything at once. No harm done, do what makes you happy.
Add your 2 cups cooked turkey and simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust the thickness of the chili with tomato paste, if needed. You want a thicker chili, one that’s easier to use as a filling.
Last but not least, stir in 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese. I like the sharp contrasting with the chili, but if you like milder cheese, like Jack, go ahead and use it instead. My food police uniform is in the wash anyway.
Simmer for another few minutes, then remove from the heat and transfer to another bowl. Place in the fridge to cool and set up.
To make the flaky pastry crust, put the following in the bowl of your food processor:
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, chilled
Process by pulsing until the mixture resembles granola.
With the machine still running, drizzle in ice water until the dough begins to form a ball. Stop the machine and check the consistency by squeezing a handful. When it holds together without crumbling, you’re good to go. Form a disk with the dough, wrap well in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to make the hand pies, roll the dough out 1/4″ thick on a well-floured surface.
While you can cut circles and seal and crimp them by hand, check out this handy-dandy turnover press. Opened up, you use the back side for cutting the circles…
Then place the dough on the front side for filling and crimping.
The hinged center makes it easy to know where to put the filling.
Then like a big ol’ shark, you close the jaws and press down firmly to seal. If the dough is a bit dry, you can use a touch of water to help it seal, but that usually isn’t the case with this dough.
Check it out! I was averaging about 3 pies per minute, so this turnover press really moved things along.
**at this point you can freeze the unbaked pies in a single layer until firm, then place in a zip-top bag and freeze for up to 4 weeks. Bake straight from the freezer, adding about 5 minutes to the baking time.**
Did I mention the turnover press is part of a set of 4 different sizes, including this adorable little 2″ size? Perfect for a two-bite appetizer; I was hooked at first sight.
There were two things I really wanted to test out with this recipe. First, could you make the flaky pastry dough with whole wheat flour?
Yes, you betcha! I used our white whole wheat flour in the same proportions as the regular flour in the recipe and it worked beautifully. I made the initial dough just a touch on the wet side to make up for the extra absorbing power of the whole wheat flour, and I was completely impressed with how easy it was to handle.
Next, I wanted to show that you don’t need a fancy turnover making tool. Just cut, fill and fold by hand, and use a fork to seal all the goodness inside. Be diligent about not adding too much filling, though.
Brush your filled hand pies with a little egg wash, if desired. You can make your own by beating an egg with a pinch of salt and a splash of water, or like my buddy chef Susan Reid, use the eggs in a carton route (aka Eggbeaters). Works like a charm.
Bake in a preheated 375°F oven until the crust is golden brown and you can hear it sizzling. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your hand pies.
See what I mean about not over-stuffing your hand pies? Sure, everyone loves filling but we love it better inside our pies instead of left behind on the baking sheet.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. After a dish has had its photo taken, what we call the beauty shot, it’s put with the other free yummy goodies in the employee kitchen. You would THINK it would disappear under a flurry of forks, everyone fighting for a bite of the “chosen one.” Nope. It usually sits there, untouched. Maybe people don’t want to disturb it, or they think if they take a bite, PJ or I will come shouting, “My precious, you ate my precious!”
This time, I wanted to make sure this tasty and pretty hand pie went to a good home like my mom taught me, so I left it perched next to Molly’s calculator. Molly is a genuine treasure here at King Arthur Flour. She works in ingredient purchasing with Sarah, and she’s the one we contact for all of the questions inquiring minds want to know.
“Is it gluten free?” Ask Molly. “Does it contain squid ink?” Ask Molly. Or in this case, “Who wants a turkey chili hand pie? ” That’s right, ask Molly!
Judging from the big smile on her face when she returned the empty plate, I’d say it was the right question to ask. Score one for Lady Jane Grey!
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