Grandma’s Table: Curry Turkey Pot Pie & Butterscotch Pudding

5 Sep

See the frog? It's leopard print is so fall 2011.

Holiday weekends are a bust if they’re not a whirlwind wound round the tail of a tsunami riding on the back of a dervish surfing through a hurricane in a hot pink dress. Or something. At any rate, one should certainly emerge leaking DIY projects, skunked beer and too many hamburgers from one’s bloated, pale gills.

Stephen, Penny and I are currently shuttling between our apartment in White Plains, our new house in Kent Lakes and my homies in Brooklyn, so our gills were leaky and bloated long before Labor Day dawned. We brought it to a new level of crazy this weekend though: costly shopping outings to Sears (lawn mower), Whole Foods (specialized comestibles), Costco (standard comestibles), Target (everything else, and I do mean everything); complicated painting projects involving wood paneling and OCD; important beer and boudin ball tastings with Lisa at d.b.a.; opening mailboxes in the black of night only to find a large webbed insect nest that wants to eat my soul; driving down the highway in the wrong direction with my mom (don’t ask); shuttling to and fro between makeshift residences like confused children in an ugly custody battle.

So many panels, nooks and crannies to prime!

Prime, paint, rinse, repeat

Generally, when we’re over-worked and spread too thin, Stephen and I both display a predictable array of personality disorders. Certain adjectives come to mind, but I’m too polite to repeat them. This time at the rodeo, we’re both just happy and excited to begin our new phase (and probably too terrified as first time homeowners to lash out).

I’m sad to leave our good friends and favorite places in the steel and glass metropolis, but I won’t miss the relentless sound of the city’s collective Sisyphean battle of one-upsmanship in all things. Stephen and I are still talking too fast, too loudly, too brightly to people we meet in the country, and for the first time this weekend, it sounded false and tinny. It will take a while to shake off the last vestiges of city politesse, but I’m sure we’ll be on our front porch in rocking chairs with hay stuck between our teeth, red hankies tied around our necks, spit-polishing our guns in no time.

In the meantime, we’ve gotta eat. This week, we made twists on a few of my grandmother’s classics – pot pie and pudding. NB: Grandma would not have approved of the use of curry in any pie. I also used scraps to make a great vegetable stock that I’ll use to baste vegetables in, poach chicken and put in simple soups this week. It’s essentially free to make (just throw corn cobs, mushroom stems, onion and carrot scraps into a pot, cover with water, throw in some herbs a bay leaf and lots of salt, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cook for about 20 minutes, strain and store), and it adds a flavorful kick to everything. Tres Grandma.

Dig in below for recipes and photos…

Curry Turkey Pot Pie

Adapted from Alton Brown

Makes 8 servings


  • 2 cups roasted turkey drumsticks or leftover cooked chicken (chicken is great in this dish but if you don’t have extra at home, turkey is super cheap and tasty; just fry up a few drumsticks, skin on with salt, pepper and a bit of curry powder, in olive oil in a smoking hot skillet; when browned on all sides, stick it in the oven at 350 degrees to finish cooking; when cool, remove skin and separate turkey meat from bones & cartilage with two forks, set aside)

Ready to finish cooking in the oven

  • 2 ears corn
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup peas
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, stems removed, cut into quarters or sixths if large
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded in food processor or cut fine
  • ½ yellow onion, medium dice
  • 2 TBSP butter, divided
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% because that’s what I had, but whole would be delicious)
  • 2 TBSP flour
  • 1 TBSP curry powder
  • 4 TBSP fresh minced oregano, thyme, rosemary and / or parsley or 2 TBSP dried
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of puff pastry (I like Pepperidge Farm), defrosted according to package directions


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roast corn with plenty of salt wrapped in foil for about 10 minutes. Cut off cob and  set aside with carrots. Meanwhile, toss frozen peas and mushrooms with TBSP olive oil and pop in oven to cook until nice and golden brown, tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.

  • Put milk and broth in small saucepan over low heat. Heat 1 TBSP butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until melted and beginning to brown. Toss in onion, salt and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring.   Lower heat to medium. Add flour and curry powder, stirring and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant, being careful to distribute to flour and curry to all of the onions. Add another TBSP butter and melt it, coating the onions. Slowly whisk in the hot milk mixture, being careful not to boil it.  Cook over low-medium heat until thickened. Add herbs, hearty dose of salt, pepper to taste. Toss in the browned vegetables, the corn and carrots, and the grated cheese.
  • Pour into shallow baking pan (or store in the fridge for up two days, tightly covered before proceeding).

Cheesy hearts and acorns, guaranteed to horrify husbands everywhere

  • Roll out defrosted pastry dough on floured surface. Cut out circles, stars, other shapes of puff pastry and place on top. Cook in the oven until pastry is golden brown and the “pie” is bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Nutritional Breakdown for Curry Turkey Pot Pie: Shockingly healthful at 320 calories and 14 grams of fat. It’s relatively high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but it’s full of fiber, protein, iron and vitamins and minerals. It’s as close to salad as I’ll ever get with Stephen, and much better for him than the carb and fat fests I often make for him.

Cost Breakdown for Curry Turkey Pot Pie: About $2.25 per serving.

Verdict / In the Future: This is a bit of a British by way of India twist on the classic pot pie, and I wasn’t sure if the cheddar / curry mixture would work. It does — it’s homey, rich and light enough for the late summer.

Butterscotch Pudding

Makes 4 servings


  • 3 TBSP butter
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP + 2 tsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 ¾ cup 1% milk, separated (this is what I had at home; whole would be better, but 1% still produces a thick, rich pudding)
  • ½ tsp salt (sea salt if you have it)
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • Heat butter over medium heat in medium saucepan. When melted, whisk in brown sugar. Whisk vigorously until the sugar has dissolved the caramel is bubbling slightly. Whisk in heavy cream until incorporated. Whisk in 1 cup of the milk and cook until thickened slightly.
  • Meanwhile, whisk corn starch in the remaining milk (you can use the dirty whisk). Whisk mixture into thickened pudding, add salt and vanilla and cook until desired consistency is almost achieved (it will thicken a bit more as it cools).
  • Pour immediately into ramekins or large pie plate and cover with saran wrap. Pop in the fridge for at least 3 hours before serving. (Serve alone, with whipped cream and berries, or slather on sundaes, brownies, etc.)

Nutritional Breakdown for Butterscotch Pudding: 375 calories and 11.5 grans of fat. Great source of calcium, good source of protein. Homemade pudding is also much lower in sugar than store-bought, but it’s still relatively high in sugar. High in cholesterol.

Cost Breakdown for Butterscotch Pudding: $1.25 per serving.

Verdict / In the Future: This tastes like the pudding you remember from childhood, but slightly less intense, a bit more refined. If you want to turn up the intensity, add more sugar and / or use whole milk.

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