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Remains of the Day: Tips for Leftovers

Recipes/ By Margaret M. Johnson

I’ve heard it so many times — you probably have as well: the best part of the Thanksgiving meal is the leftovers, especially the great turkey sandwich jam-packed with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and [for some] even mashed potatoes. The no-recipe-required sandwich is a great follow-up to a Black Friday shopping spree, but for a more substantial meal, try a turkey potpie filled with potatoes, carrots, and peas. This recipe, which appears in my newest cookbook “Favorite Flavors of Ireland,” is heavily spiced with fresh tarragon, but you can substitute fresh thyme or parsley. Serve it with Spiced Cranberry Sauce (recipe follows).

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Turkey Pie

Serves 4

2 tbsp. butter

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

4 tbsp. flour

4 cups turkey stock or canned low-salt chicken broth

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey

2 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 prepared piecrust

1 egg, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-in. deep dish casserole dish.

  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Stir in the celery and carrots and cook for about 5 minutes, or until nearly tender. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the turkey or chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the potatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until nearly tender.

  3. Stir in the turkey, tarragon, and peas. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish, top with the piecrust, and brush with the egg.

  4. Put the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and cut vents in pastry. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbling around edges. Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before serving.


Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Makes 2 1/4 cups

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup sugar

3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

2 cinnamon sticks

½ in. piece fresh ginger

Pinch of crushed pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Bring the water, orange juice, and sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the cranberries and return to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat, add remaining ingredients, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Remove cinnamon stick and ginger and let cool. Sprinkle with pepper flakes, if using. (Can be made 2 days ahead; cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.


Turkey and Ham Pot Pies

Serves 6

If you also serve a ham with the Thanksgiving bird, you’ll want to try this recipe. If not, you can use a bit of ham from the deli. You can find this recipe and other holiday favorites in my last cookbook “Christmas Flavors of Ireland.”

3 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth

3 celery stalks, chopped

3 small potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-in. pieces

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

5 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup chopped onion or leek

5 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1 1/2 cups diced cooked turkey

1 1/2 cups diced ham

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 package frozen puff pastry, thawed


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F. In a large saucepan over medium heat, bring chicken broth, celery, and potatoes to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the potatoes are slightly tender. Add the carrots and cook for about 10 minutes longer, or until all the vegetables are tender. Drain and reserve the broth. Set aside the vegetables

  2. In another large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the onions or leeks and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the flour and then whisk in 1 cup reserved broth and the milk. Cook, whisking constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme.

  3. Stir in the ham and turkey, reserved vegetables, and peas. Heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbling.

  4. Divide mixture into 6 individual casseroles. Cut pastry crust to fit the dishes and then cut a few slits to release steam. Put the casseroles on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crusts are golden. Serve immediately 25-30 minutes, or until the crusts are golden. Serve immediately.


Margaret M. Johnson’s Favorite Flavors of Ireland is a “labor of love and tribute to her thirty years of travel there. It offers more than 100 best-loved recipes from her previous ten cookbooks and celebrates the special flavors of each Irish season: Spring/An t-Earrach, Summer/An Samhradh, Autum/An Fómhar, Winter/An Geimhreadh.” To order a signed copy, visit www.irishcook.com.