27 December, 2007

December recipe: Leek and turkey pie

I hope you all had a happy Christmas! Plenty of presents, food, drink and good cheer, and not too much of all the family staring at different walls. One thing there always seems to be too much of is the turkey. If ever a bird was designed for feeding a large extended family, it surely must be the turkey – so if you stuck to the traditional Christmas meal for a small family or even a couple, you walked into the kitchen this morning and contemplated the half-untouched bird with a sinking heart, didn’t you? How many turkey sandwiches can anyone reasonably be expected to eat?

Help is at hand. Why not try a turkey pie with the leftovers? Here’s how I make mine:

Leek and turkey pie (serves 4)

Shortcrust pastry
4 oz (approx 100 g) plain flour
1 oz (approx 25 g) lard or whipped cooking fat
1 oz (approx 25 g) butter or margarine

1 lb (approx 450 g) leftover turkey
8 oz (approx 250 g) leeks
1 Tablespoon (1 x 15 ml spoon) flour
Half a pint (approx 250 ml) milk
1 teaspoon (1 x 5 ml spoon) dried tarragon or dried mixed herbs

Rub the lard and butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add a little cold water and stir until the mixture forms a dough.
(Or just buy ready-made shortcrust pastry).

Wash, trim and slice the leeks.
Chop the turkey into fork-sized pieces, discarding any bones, skin or unidentified stringy bits that you won’t want to eat.
Fry the leeks in cooking oil or butter in a saucepan over a medium heat until soft.
Stir in the tablespoon of flour and mix in well.
Add the milk, and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. The sauce will thicken and won’t contain lumps (This is an absolutely foolproof method of making a white sauce).
When the sauce is bubbling, turn down the heat and stir in the chopped leftover turkey.
Season with salt and pepper, and add herbs of your choice. I like tarragon, but dried mixed herbs or parsley also work well.
Put the filling in a greased pie dish. A dish about 3” (approx 8 cm) deep and about 7” (approx 18 cm) diameter should be about the right size.
Roll out the pastry on a floured worktop until it is about the size of the top of the pie dish. Put it on top of the filling. If it breaks, dab the broken edges with a little water and push the fragments back together as best you can – the sauce will bubble out of the crack as the pie cooks, but so what?
Brush the pastry with milk.
Bake the pie in a hot oven (200 C) for 35 minutes or so until golden brown on top.
Serve with roast or mashed potatoes, and roast parsnips or a green vegetable.

If you can summon the energy to strip all the meat off the turkey carcass, you can freeze the leftover meat and use it to make a pie like this in several weeks’ or even months’ time. You’ll have recovered from turkey fatigue by February. Honest.

Turkey, leek and bacon pie: substitute 4 oz (approx 100 g) chopped bacon or ham for the equivalent amount of turkey
Mushroom and turkey pie: use mushrooms instead of some or all of the leeks
Pork (or chicken) and leek pie: use leftover roast chicken or pork instead of turkey


Gabriele Campbell said...

Hehe, just well the traditional dish here is either potato salad with Würstchen, or a goose with Klößen (some sort of potato balls) and red cabbage. :)

Carla said...

Goose and red cabbage sounds delicious! Best wishes for the New Year.

Constance Brewer said...

Oh, good recipe! (I think one store even has some leeks this time) I only made a turkey breast and I still have enough to make me sick of it. Of course the dogs are getting the benefit of my turkey tiredness... :)

Gabriele Campbell said...

Spoiled Corgies. And what about those poor gnomes, do they have to do with the traditional oat porridge? :)

Carla said...

Constance - Hope you enjoy it, and the dogs aren't too disappointed! You can use mushrooms or other vegetables if leeks aren't available.

Gabriele - I thought the gnomes ate cookies? :-)

Lucy said...

We did away with the dreaded turkey left-overs some years ago: we cook goose! But your pie recipe does sound good: perhaps next year we should give the old bird another chance.

Constance Brewer said...

gnomes drink whiskey and eat whatever they want - usually steak and lobster. Thank doG I don''t have to feed them...

And my corgis aren't spoiled! Much.

Making scones for new years. :)

Meghan said...

Amazing! Sounds really interesting. Is there anything you CAN'T make? I should share my mom's reciepe for alcoholic cupcakes one day...

Gabriele Campbell said...

And tag, you're it. *grin*

Looking forward to obscure tidbits about some obscure English king.

Bernita said...

Mothers are, by necessity, inventors...
An excellent recipe, Carla!

"unidentified stringy bits" I so laughed over that - that's how I view them too.

Carla said...

Lucy - Well, it also works with chicken or pork, so it doesn't have to be turkey! Goose doesn't have the leftover problem; wonder why it isn't more popular?

Constance - I haven't made scones in ages! Good reminder; I love hot scones straight out of the oven, with melting butter and home-made jam.

Meghan - There are lots and lots of things that I can't cook, either because I don't like them or can't be bothered. Puff pastry and flaky pastry leap to mind, as does fondue and anything involving a barbecue :-) But after cooking 7 days a week for well over a dozen years, I do have quite a reasonable repertoire of practical home cookery dishes by now! Do share your mother's cupcake recipe sometime. We don't really have cupcakes on this side of the Pond - unless they're what I used to call buns?

Gabriele - if you want obscure, you've come to the right place :-)

Bernita - Necessity being the mother of invention? I suspect I ought to be able to identify at least some of the stringy things more accurately, but anatomy was never my forte :-)