Not everyone is in love with the favoured Christmas turkey. There are those who cannot fathom what the fuss is about at all, and opt for a Christmas beef or gammon joint, bravely straying from tradition! But most people, like myself, are happy to eat it that one day. It’s Christmas, and turkey is the something that makes dinner different from any other, the something that makes it special. It only happens once year, let’s make an effort here! But as much as we’re content to eat it on December 25th, with mounds of crispy potatoes and little sausages wrapped up in bacon, by December 26th, personally I’m done with the novelty.
Every year the days following Christmas are interesting to say the least, as my favourite childhood meals have been changed not-for-the-better with unwelcome surprise appearances from turkey. This year, rather than enduring such a dish simply to reduce the amount of leftovers in the fridge, I tried to find a recipe that I thought I might like! And this was once such recipe – Jamie Oliver’s turkey and sweet leek pie. I didn’t quite have all of the ingredients, so I played about with quantities. It’s a fantastic pie: after softening leeks to tease out their moisture and flavour, the turkey is added, before stock. After simmering it away to give tenderness back to the turkey, it’s strained through a sieve, producing a brilliant creamy homemade gravy separate from the pie filling. And stuffed pastry! I made my own shortcrust rather than puff, and stuffed it with chopped mushrooms over chestnuts, but it was inspired wholly by Jamie Oliver’s recipe. Who knew leftover turkey could be such a treat. It’ll definitely be making an appearance again next year…
Ingredients – serves 4, my modifications in bold.
- 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
- Dried thyme
- Olive oil
- 3 leeks, washed, trimmed; white end chopped into thin slices
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cooked leftover turkey, shredded (either white or dark meat, or both!)
- 1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour, for the gravy
- 1 pint of vegetable stock
- 1 heaped tablespoon of natural Greek yoghurt
- 100g mushrooms, finely chopped
- Butter, half the amount of plain flour used
- Plain flour, for the pastry, double the amount of butter used
- Cold water, as necessary, to bind together the butter and flour
- Dried sage
- Splash of cold milk
- In a large pan that has an accompanying lid (I used a wok), over a medium heat, add dried thyme. Toast the dried herbs until they become aromatic, and then add the sliced bacon. Add a little olive oil, and fry for a few minutes. Add the finely sliced leeks, and fry them for about 3-5 minutes.
- Season, then add the lid, turn the heat down to low and let them fry gently for 25-30 minutes. The moisture in the leeks will come out, but make sure you stir them regularly to prevent them sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Whilst the leeks are cooking, make your shortcrust pastry. Placing the flour and the butter in a bowl with cold hands. Using only your fingertips, gently rub the two ingredients together, until they resemble ‘breadcrumbs’. Do this gently and lightly – with each ‘rub’, lift the flour and butter a little out of the bowl to introduce air. Once breadcrumbs are achieved, add small amounts of cold water and stir in until a ball is formed. Wrap this in clingfilm or silver foil, and place aside in the fridge until later.
- When the leeks are done, add the shredded turkey and stir. Scatter over the flour, mix it well to coat all the ingredients, then pour in the vegetable stock and stir again.
- Add the natural Greek yoghurt, and then bring everything to the boil. Season to taste, then remove from the heat.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve or colander over another large empty pan; let the gravy from the mixture drip into the pan while you roll out your pastry.
- Get a deep pie dish roughly 22 x 30cm. Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with a bit of flour and roll your pastry out so it’s double the size of your dish.
- Crumble the chopped mushrooms over one half of the pastry then sprinkle over some dried sage. Fold the other half of pastry on top then roll it out carefully and evenly so it’s the same size as the pie dish. The mushrooms will poke through the surface and you may need a bit more flour, as they will release moisture, making the pastry catch a little on the surface.
- Spoon the leek mixture from the sieve into the pie dish and spread it out evenly. Lay your pastry on top, and tuck it down the sides of the dish. Score with a large, sharp knife.
- Wash the top of the pastry with milk, and season. Place your pie in the oven for 40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.
- When the pie is ready, re-heat the gravy and serve with your pie, along with some fresh green vegetables. Enjoy!