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You did it. You got through Christmas day, the feasting, the frivolity, the time-honoured festivity. Along with a smug sense of achievement, the aftermath of Christmas brings with it questions such as ‘what to do with leftover roast turkey?’ and ‘why do we celebrate boxing day?' And also the baffling ‘how on earth can my family be hungry again after what I saw them all eat yesterday?!’.
While the origins of Boxing Day are as mysterious to us as they are to you, we can (as always) help you feed your family, and today, capitalise on the bounty left in your fridge.
While the recipe calls for turkey, ham and leek, it’s really a guide. It would be equally delicious with any poultry, pork, onions, cheese… You can even chop up those last few Brussels and throw them into the mix. Let your fridge be your guide.
75g butter + more for greasing
2 leeks, cleaned, halved and finely sliced
Half a bunch of thyme, leaves picked
75g plain flour
25ml cider vinegar
200ml chicken stock
3 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Half a bunch of tarragon, chopped
about 600g cooked turkey, in chunks
about 600g cooked ham, in chunks
1 box of short crust pastry
1 egg, beaten
Take the pastry out of the freezer and leave it at room temperature. (If you’re making this pie in summer and the room’s quite warm, leave it in the fridge instead.)
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat then add the leeks and thyme. Cook them for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. The aim here is to soften the leeks without getting much colour, which will ensure their sweet/savoury character permeates the pie filling.
Once they are totally tender, add the flour and stir for two minutes to make sure the flour is thoroughly cooked, then add the cider vinegar and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring to the boil, return to low heat then add the cream, salt and pepper. Simmer until you have a nice thick gravy. Taste your sauce and consider whether you’d like to add any more salt or pepper.
Turn off the heat, add mustard and stir thoroughly, then add the turkey, ham and tarragon and stir to combine well. Pop everything into the fridge to cool while you crack on with your pie case.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
If it’s not already rolled, roll your pastry roughly 5mm thickness on a well floured surface. Paint your pie tin with melted butter (or take the lazy option and use a softened stick of butter like a fat crayon and apply it that way) then lay the pastry into the pie and tuck it in neatly. Poke it all over with a fork to make little holes all the way through the pastry.
Butter a sheet of baking paper and lay it into the pastry lined pie tin. Add baking beans, rice or even coins to weigh the pasta down.
Put the pie shell into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the baking beans and paper and bake for a further five then remove from the oven.
Fill the pie crust with the turkey ham mix spreading it out evenly. Lay the remaining pastry on top of the pie, at this point, if you’re feeling artistic, some decorative shapes cut out of pastry shapes could make your pie that little bit more special. Holly leaves? Stars? Let your imagination go. Include in your design at least one hole in the pastry to let the steam from the filling escape, then paint the whole thing in a generous coating of egg wash. (That’s just egg milk beaten together.)
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and crisp, the remove and rest for 10-15 minutes. When slightly less that piping hot, the pie should be easier to slice. And if you don’t manage perfect triangular wedges, don’t worry, it won’t taste any different!