Sharing Food and Memories with Friends and Family

November 27, 2010
Irene Saiger


Turkey Potpie

Thanksgiving is over.  In the past three days I have served a total of 41 guests at various times.  Now, my husband is on the way to the airport with two of my children who are heading back East, where they live.  My future daughter-in-law will be leaving tomorrow and I am already experiencing the ache that always fills the space they leave behind.  Still, I continue to be grateful, even days after Thanksgiving, that they still come home.

When I wasn’t entertaining, I was thinking about change.  In my last post, I wrote about having asked my mother to make Thanksgiving dinner.  This weekend, I sat and wondered how she felt about that request.  It never occurred to me that perhaps she felt hurt, sad, or worried that her child was going to grow up and become too American, rejecting the things she stood for.  Did she wonder why I wanted American food rather than her Eastern European fare?  Did she understand my wish to belong? Although I will never know how she truly felt, I must admit that she would have been right to worry.  The reason having American food was so important to me was the naïve belief of a child that it would define who I was, or at least who I wanted to be.

I have a “day after Thanksgiving” tradition.  I take all the leftover meat from the turkey and turn it into potpie.  Nothing in my family’s culinary background could have led me to this dish.  Potpie was just another step into an American life, a dish that is creamy, definitely not kosher (although I have adapted the recipe), and about as far away from a kugel as one could get.  Chopped bits of poultry swimming in sauce covered by a layer of pastry?  As an adult, I am much more comfortable with my background, embracing my history along with the food that goes with it.  Still there is a place inside me that just wants a piece of potpie.  I think my mother would approve, seeing that we can have it all.

Turkey Potpie

Use as much leftover turkey as you like, white and dark meat, diced

1 large brown onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 Tbsp oil

1 stick parve margarine

1/2 cup flour

6 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste


1 sheet of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry, rolled out to 9 x 13 rectangle

In a large pot sauté chopped onion in oil for several minutes until onion is translucent.  Add celery and carrot and sauté an additional 5 minutes.  Remove vegetables from pot and set aside.  In the same pot, melt the margarine.  Add the flour and blend together over a low flame for 2-3 minutes.  Gradually add 6 cups of chicken broth, stirring constantly.  Season with salt and pepper. Add diced turkey and vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.  Pour into a shallow 9 x 13 baking pan.  Cover with dough and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Serve hot.



14 thoughts on “Turkey Potpie

  1. Irene
    thanks so much for this recipe., The story reminds me of begging my mom to buy wonderbread for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I wanted to be more American that way. I told her that none of the other kids take salami-not cut from the deli in thin slices but thick slices from the chub on rye or challah.

    Sounds like your weekend was FABULOUS!!


    • I had exactly the same experience. FAT garlicky salami sandwiches on rye, wrapped in wax paper that looked nothing like the sandwiches the American girls had…. thin, delicate sliced meats on white bread, cut on the diagonal, and wrapped in saran.

  2. PS – I hate peas.

  3. Sounds delicious Irene! Alas, I was one of the recipients of Mollie’s left-overs, and felt terrible that she hadn’t reserved any for herself – I thought she had!

    I ate the last of the apple pie for breakfast this morning.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend, and I’m glad that your kids came in. you must be bushed.

  4. As a pie-crust-challenged person, I like that you use store-bought puff pastry for the crust. Plus, like me, you omitted the peas, which seems to be in every other pot pie and my son hates. Thanks for the great recipe!

  5. Irene, your potpie was delicious, and now I know I could make it too, thanks to the discovery that you used frozen puff pastry!

  6. Hi Irene
    It was my pleasure to host Thanksgiving this year – my daughter Lisa hosted the last several years. After our delicious dinner (Trader Joes Kosher turkey was terrific) I packed up care packages for my family. Friday morning I realized to my dismay – I didn’t save any turkey for me. What a bummer – I feel like making another turkey – I hope that feeling passes as soon as I finish this post.

    • Hi Mollie,

      I am sure it would be just as good with chicken. Let me know if you try the potpie and glad to hear how nice Thanksgiving was. I am always happy to hear from you. Happy Chanukah!


  7. Too bad I don’t have turkey leftovers… but I really wanna try this with some chicken 🙂

  8. I think now you’re going to have to include my recipe for Tuna Casserole!

    Just kidding — it looks great. Loved your story, as usual. Happy Thanksgiving!

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