Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Turkey pot-pie stew

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 Turkey pot-pie stew
Winter is waning, but it's not over yet. Here's an easy, warming variation on a comfort-food tradition.
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Turkey pot-pie stew

We're finally approaching the end of an unusually gray and chilly winter around here, with the first day of spring just two weeks off. But winter is not over yet, so there's still plenty of call for warming comfort food.

One of the most consoling winter dishes I can think of is turkey (or chicken) pot pie, a comforting blend of poultry meat and vegetables in a smooth, thick sauce, encased in a pastry shell and baked until it's all steaming.

I'm not much for pastry in home cooking, though. Too much work, too many calories. But the other night, faced with another chilly evening, a leftover roast turkey thigh in the fridge and not much else, I suddenly had an idea: Why not make a turkey pot pie without the pie? All the goodies, hold the crust ... and dollop it over a pile of steaming white rice instead.

Without pastry, and using already cooked poultry, pot pie suddenly becomes easy: Saute onions and garlic, add vegetables and the meat, cook briefly in a little broth, thicken and serve. Just as simple as that, and dinner was on the table in 45 minutes. Here's how it went.


(Serves two)

1 medium sweet onion
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
10-12 ounces leftover turkey (or chicken)
Black pepper
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups turkey broth or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons arrowroot (preferred) or cornstarch for thickening


1. Peel and chop the onions, peel and mince the garlic. Slice the celery, peel and slice the carrots. Cut leftover turkey meat into bite-size cubes.

2. Put the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute until they're translucent but not brown. Stir in the carrots and celery, season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue sauteing briefly until warmed through; reduce heat to low and cover the pan. Cook covered for about five minutes or until the carrots and celery are softening a bit but still crisp.

3. Add the turkey cubes, the peas, and the broth and tomato paste. Simmer, covered, for 15 or 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not falling apart. Add the ground cumin, taste and correct seasoning if necessary.

4. Make a slurry with the arrowroot or cornstarch and water, and stir it in over low heat, a little at a time, until the liquid in the pan thickens slightly. Serve over steaming white rice or, if you prefer, boiled new potatoes or mashed potatoes.

WINE MATCH: Just about any crisp to medium-bodied white wine of your liking should work well with this wine-friendly dish. It was excellent with Vicentini 2005 "Terre Lunghe" Soave, a richer style Soave endowed with fresh tropical fruit and citrus flavors.

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