Last week I spent a lot of time contemplating savory pie. I love how genius pie is, at its core: a flour and water package used as a means of containing a complete meal. Last week I also was reminded that I am not a talented pie baker. I had grand intentions to make some adorable mini turkey pies as a clever way of employing Thanksgiving leftovers. But part of what I enjoy most about cooking is the ability to improvise and experiment. As much as I tried to adhere to a recipe, I still failed. My dough was crumbly and stubborn, and it was heavy (two sticks of butter, egads!), and I nearly cried over the amount of labor involved for such a pitiful return. No more pies, not for a long time anyway.
Well, no more pastry crust pie. Because there is that other, more quotidian, everyman arena of pie: the turnovers, pasties, calzoni and empanadas of the world. They are incredibly less fussy to make than a pastry crust, and a heck of a lot more fun. Sprouted Kitchen recently posted a marvelous recipe for mini calzones, which provided the inspiration for this.
This version has been tailored for Thanksgiving and is easily adjusted to accommodate whatever leftover combination you desire. Go ahead and improvise: gravy, stuffing, cranberry relish or sweet potatoes would all be pretty darn good, I think, when stuffed in a little bread pocket such as this.
MINI TURKEY TURNOVERS WITH GOAT CHEESE, BRIE AND CRANBERRIES
inspired by Sprouted Kitchen’s mini calzones
Makes about 12
2/3 cup roast turkey meat, diced small (breast meat is ideal for its mild flavor, but not necessary)
1 12-oz ball of pizza dough (found at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and the like)
1 small onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
1/3 cup goat cheese
1/3 cup mild Brie, cut into small cubes if the cheese is firm enough
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt + pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place dough in an oiled bowl and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 1/2 hour.
Warm a pan over a medium-low flame. Add about 2 teaspoons olive oil and onions and stir. Caramelize onions for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. When ready, remove from heat.
On a floured surface, roll dough into a large, thin rectangle. (But not so thin that the dough will tear.) Slice dough into about 12 squares.
Place squares on a large, lightly oiled baking sheet and begin to build the turnovers. Add onion, then turkey, then cheeses, and then about 6 dried cranberries to the center of each. Finish with a pinch of thyme, a sprinkle of salt and a twist of the pepper mill. Amounts are best guessed by eyeing the turnovers and taking care that they aren’t so stuffed that they won’t be able to be folded and sealed.
Fold one edge of the square over the other, making a triangle. Then, fold the bottom edge of the dough over the top edge, from one side of the turnover to the other.
When each turnover is folded, brush with a light coat of olive oil and sprinkle a tiny bit more salt on the tops of each. Finally, use a paring knife to make a tiny score on the top of each turnover.
Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.
Best served warm.