Tuesday, December 01, 2020

turkey, repurposed

I took my leftover kilogram of turkey breast, cubed it up, prepped a bunch of veggies, made a most excellent white gravy, buttered up one of my quirky baking dishes, and made the following work of... well, not exactly art, but let's say deliciousness:

The gravy was based on things I already had in my fridge:  I had some leftover Béchamel from the pre-Thanksgiving meal I had prepped; I also had a bunch of leftover chicken gravy.  The chicken gravy was ever so slightly on the too-salty side, but when I combined it with the Béchamel, some heavy cream, and a few teaspoons of cornstarch... holy shit, it was good.  I was elated, but at the same time, I was disappointed because when last night's gravy came together, I realized that what I had done for our luncheon on the 20th was an incomplete gravy that needed only one or two more steps to become the ultimate white gravy.  I don't know if I can ever replicate this; everything came together so marvelously that it felt inspired by a mercurial Muse who will never visit me again.

Regarding peas, I learned my lesson:  European peas are tougher, so they need to boil way longer than the standard two or three minutes for frozen American peas.  So I blasted my European peas for twenty-five minutes, and they finally reached a state of tolerable softness although they did become a bit paler in the process.  The color didn't matter much:  I don't like it when my peas are totally soggy and mushy, but I also don't like it when they're al dente.  I was far more worried about texture than about color.  (The flavor was fine.)

I diced up three medium potatoes (I have no idea where one might find huge russets in Korea... maybe Garak Market?) and boiled them for the standard ten minutes.  They were perfectly done.  I sliced up some celery stalks, finely minced some celery leaves, then diced up and boiled a large carrot (large carrots are common in Korean groceries, but not large taters... go figure).  The celery got treated to a pan-fry in butter and olive oil.  The only time I added salt was when I was boiling the potatoes; I salted nothing else, and that proved to be sufficient.  Oh, wait:  I also minced up some Korean pancetta (sold here as a samgyeopsal cut, but it's just good ol' pork belly) and fried the hell out of it, draining off the fat and relying on the meat's natural saltiness to add more umami to the entire ensemble.

Everything went into a giant metal bowl, and when I finished making the white gravy, I poured that atop the meat and vegetables to create to the final pie filling.  With a few stirs and several chants of "Double, double, toil and trouble," the filling was ready to go.  I brought out one lump of pie dough (I had three), rolled it out, draped it over a thoroughly buttered baking dish, and filled the crust.  I then folded the loose borders of the pie crust into a roughly galette shape, which resulted in a natural vent on top to prevent explosions.  I painted on the egg wash, and after that, it was just a matter of baking the thing.  I cranked the oven temp up high and baked the pot pie for an hour.  The result was a tough, somewhat overcooked bottom crust, but everything else was fookin' perfect.  Even the tough bottom was awesome, being gloriously buttery and crunchy.

So that was the trial run.  I ate a third of the pie last night as a test, and I finished the pie today for lunch.  It's ready for prime time:  I have tons of pie filling left over, and I'll be baking two more pies tonight—at a lower temperature—to bring into the office tomorrow.

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