Turkey Pot Pie

Saturday was a bit traumatic for our family.  When I woke up, my sister told me our beloved family dog, Sadie, was missing and had been for two hours.  Sadie is our 12 year old Boston Terrier.  She has had vision problems for a while, but recently she went completely blind.

Normally, when she goes out, she doesn’t go to far because she can’t see.  For some reason, she wandered off that morning and was nowhere to be found.  My parents had already been diligently looking for her when I woke up.  My sister then went out when I woke up, and I stayed to keep watch in case she wondered home.

If there was any doubt that Sadie was the fifth child in our family, that was solidified on Saturday.  It was cold and rainy, and my parents spent hours trying to find her.  Friends and neighbors all jumped in to help.

I actually had to get out on the road to travel back home.  I was really upset about leaving.  It had been over five hours, and nobody could find Sadie.  The chances of her returning home were beginning to look grim.  We imagined she couldn’t have gone far because she can’t see.  We thought that she had bunkered down somewhere trying to get shelter from the rain and imagined she would not be moving.  I really didn’t want to leave not knowing if she was okay.  I definitely got on the road thinking the worst.  Actually, my mom had to calm me down as I headed out.  I ran into her on the side of the road.  I was sobbing because I was so worried about our baby girl.  I couldn’t stop thinking about her being cold and scarred, unable to see her way home.  I wasn’t ready for her to be gone.

Now, I am not naive.  I know that our dog is older and that her time on earth is winding down.  However, she still has some good time left in her.  I had just brought her home a new toy that smells like bacon.  This toy made her so happy that she whimpered and cried the entire day after I gave it to her.  She had this toy by her side all weekend.  She certainly has slowed down in her old age, but she loves to play and to cuddle.  I was thinking about how we had cuddled all evening the night before on the couch, and she slept against my leg.  I never imagined that would be the last I’d see of her.

Fortunately, that is not how this story ends.  Shortly after I hit the road, our friends Chris and Will came over to help look for Sadie.  If you have read any of my stories about my friend Katie who I babysat when she was little, these are her parents.  These are two of the most genuinely kind and loving people you will ever meet.  These have suffered an unspeakable loss, and they still spend their time sharing their generous hearts with others.  They came from across town to come look for Sadie.  Will brought his hunting gear, and he was the one who found her.

She was on the other side of our neighborhood, which is surrounded by woods and fields.  Sadie got stuck in some brush out in the field.  How she got that far, I have no idea.  All I know is it is a bit of a miracle that Will found her.  Amazingly, there was noting wrong with her besides being cold and dirty.  She was covered in mud from the rain.  They got her warmed up and dry before giving her a bath, and they watched her very carefully to make sure she didn’t need medical attention.  She was a bit shook from the experience, but physically she was fine.  I don’t know how after all that, she was okay.

I am so happy they found our precious baby.  I truly love that dog.  She is a part of our family.  I am not terribly fond of many things or people, but I really love my dog.  She can do no wrong in my eyes, even when she is peeing all over the house.  I know she has some quality time left in her, and I am so glad she gets to live it.  Will is our MVP for finding her.  Chris said he is the finder of lost things, which is probably true, but I think he may have had a little help from their guardian angel.  Katie would never had wanted to see an animal in distress.  I think she helped guide her dad to find Sadie.

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My mom gave Sadie some big cuddles after her traumatic day.

Once my mom called and said she was okay, I was so relieved, but unfortunately my mood was not lifted.  I had to drive home with heavy traffic in the rain.  It rained the entire way there, getting worse as I drove.  Once I reached the outskirts of DC, it was raining so hard that I could barely see where the lanes were.  All I wanted to do was get home and crawl into bed.  I absolutely hate driving.  Traffic and rain are two of my least favorite conditions to drive in.  I get so frustrated at people and just want to not be trapped in a moving metal box.

Christopher (calling him this to differentiate from our friend Chris mentioned earlier) basically told me I was coming over for dinner while I was driving home.  I called him to let him know that Sadie was found.  I think he knew that it wouldn’t be good for me to go home alone and stew with my negative thoughts.  That’s one of the greatest things about having a best friend.  They really know you and know what you need without you needing to say it.  In fact, they sometimes know what you need before you know what you need.  This was one of those situations.

I was in a real sour mood and thought that would continue.  Chris always lifts my mood though.  He also greeted me with beer, Tidings from Port City, my favorite winter brew.  The brewery is in Alexandria, VA (right outside DC) but I have a hard time finding it in Maryland.  Chris works in VA, so I put him on watch once it comes out.  Having this beer also helped improve my mood.

Chris had some leftover turkey and wanted to make pot pie.  I picked up some frozen peas and Pillsbury biscuits to make a somewhat deconstructed pot pie.  We really didn’t feel like putting in a ton of effort into this meal.

Chris got a broth going by adding a chicken bouillon cube to a pot of hot water.  He added some chopped carrots and some of the frozen peas to the pot while I worked on making the creamy part of the pot pie.

Chris wanted me to teach him how to make a roux.  I told him to get out some butter, flour, and milk, and I’d show him how.  I took about 2 tablespoons of butter and melted it in a sauce pan.  Once that was melted, I whisked in somewhere between 1-2 tablespoons of flour and let that bubble for a few minutes.  I then showed him how to gradually add milk and whisking it into the flour.

When I added my last bit of milk, Chris commented that it seemed like a lot of milk.  I don’t know know exactly how much milk I used, but it certainly less than I typically use when making mac and cheese or another creamy sauce.  I informed him that the milk is what gives pot pie the nice creamy texture.

We let the milk simmer for a few minutes before adding the broth mixture.  Chris had already added the turkey to the broth, so everything should have been re-hydrating nicely.  After adding the broth, veggies, and meat to the pot with the milk.  Chris asked me why we can’t just add the milk mixture to the broth mixture.  I said that when working with a roux, it is best to add any other liquid ingredients to the pot with the roux because that liquid can help to further break up the flour from the roux stuck to the pan.  Once everything was incorporated, we seasoned the pot pie with poultry seasoning and ground sage and let it simmer to let the flavors develop.  Ground sage is already in poultry seasoning, but we felt the extra sage would be nice in this dish to bring out those fall flavors.

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While this was all going on, we added our biscuits to a cookie sheet and baked them according to the package directions until they were golden brown.  This was going to be our “pie” part of the pot pie.  With more extensive prep, we could definitely have made a more traditional pot pie, but again, we really wanted this to be a quick and easy dish.

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These buttermilk biscuits are done baking when they are brown and slightly crispy on the outside but fluffy on the outside

Chris also cut some Brussels sprouts in half and trimmed the edges.  Once in the frying pan, I added olive oil, balsamic vinegar, season salt, and pepper.  Chris added what seemed like a tad too much red pepper flakes for my personal taste, but he seemed to really love them.

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We enjoyed our meal while watching Julie & Julia, which is a rather endearing movie.  The pot pie was amazing.  It was creamy and velvety.  The flavors were perfect, especially with the extra sage Chris added.  There was a perfect amount of meat for two people, and the meat remained tender.  The biscuit was a great vehicle for scooping up these creamy ingredients.  I did enjoy the Brussels sprouts, but in the context of this meal, they seemed a bit too spicy.  I give Chris a hard time about making his food too spicy a lot.  I like heat, but sometimes it seems misplaced in a particular meal, and this was one of them.  I’ll still keep him around though.

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