Earlier this week I joined Bethany Yon from the VT Department of Health on her show, What's Cooking Rutland. The theme was cleaning out the freezer. Bethany and I took inventory of our freezers and were surprised by how much we found - especially in leftover fruits and vegetables from last year's harvest.
Now is a good time to see what is hanging out in there and to start using up what you already have before the season really kicks off and you start buying more. It's not a bad idea to clear out anything questionable either. Here's a useful guide to reference while determining what may or may not be worth saving.
Fruits and vegetables, for instance, shouldn't spend more than a year in your freezer.
We based the show's menu around what we found. When I discovered green beans, kale, carrots, homemade chicken stock, herbs, and pie crust, a pot pie came to mind. Then Bethany told me she had turkey breast from Thanksgiving. Perfect.
I took the items out of the freezer earlier in the day to defrost and lightly pressed out some of the water that was left in some of the vegetables. While you could try making this without defrosting the vegetables (the meat, on the other hand, will definitely require a defrost period), you might end up with a pretty watery pie. It's harder to drain out the excess liquid at that point.
While I worked on the pie, Bethany made the blueberry and maple syrup sorbet we posted last year and a refreshing strawberry rhubarb soup. I usually don't like rhubarb, but that was good stuff.
The show will be airing all through April on PEG-TV and streaming on their site as well. Check it out. Here's the recipe for the pot pie. Of course, you could use ingredients that haven't been frozen as well.
Turkey Pot Pie
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 3 cups stock
- 2 1/2 cups cooked, cubed turkey (or chicken)
- 3 cups mixed vegetables
- 2-3 Tbsp. of your favorite herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, parsley, oregano), chopped
- 1 or 2 sheets of pie crust, either homemade or store bought
- 1 egg, beaten
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until translucent. Stir in the flour and let cook for a minute, while moving around the pan, before pouring in the stock. Bring to a simmer for a couple of minutes and then add the meat, vegetables, and herbs. Simmer for 5 minutes until everything is heated through and the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
If you'd like both a bottom and top crust to your pie, go ahead and spread one sheet of dough over the bottom of a pie plate. A casserole dish could work too, if desired. Ladle in the contents of the pan and then top with another sheet of dough. Crimp the edges of the dough if you're looking to have a nice presentation, or if you're too eager to bother, just make a few slits with a knife. Brush with the beaten egg, for a browner, crispier crust, place on a baking sheet, and slide into the oven.
Bake for about 45 minutes, until the crust is looking golden brown. Remove and let cool as long as you can before slicing up and digging in.