The holidays have come and gone bringing you many more happy memories, ultimately of gorging too much food on that very festive of days. Napping on the couch with added tryptophan from the turkey to help you relax while your stomach digests, you come suddenly to realize another year has passed.
The remnants of this marvellous meal are left in casserole pots, or wrapped in foil for sandwiches later. As a Brit, the question I used to ask was, does it always have to be a salad, with leftovers? Do we always have to have the vegetables served up as bubble and squeak from a frying pan? Not that there is anything wrong with these: being British, I grew up with them.
But why not think a little outside the box? We can make so many other wonderful creations. Like you I watch the TV chefs conjure up such creations as tossed brown meat turkey salads, or leftover Christmas pudding drops. All very cool and not that time consuming.
Still I admit that as a Brit I’m a sucker at such moments for something more homey – above all, a hearty meat pie. The opportunity is there: the ingredients are cooked and ready; all we need to do is add a little pastry and voila…
Turkey leftovers picked from the carcass, chopped
4 sticks of celery chopped
1 large Spanish onion chopped
2 carrots peeled and chopped
Leftover vegetables, (whatever they may be)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can of beer (your choice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon oregano
A pinch of both salt and pepper (to taste)
Place a large pot on the stove, bringing to a medium heat with the olive oil. When hot add the onions, carrots and celery. Cook for five minutes while stirring, so as not to burn. Add the wine and beer, allow the liquid to reduce for a couple of minutes, then add the leftover vegetables. Season with a little salt and pepper, and add the oregano.
When the vegetables are heated throughout add the leftover turkey and two cans of cream of chicken soup. Heat through, then remove from heat, allowing the mixture to cool somewhat.
355 grams of all-purpose flour
115 g butter (room temperature)
115 g lard (room temperature)
Pinch of salt
To make the pastry
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, mixing together thoroughly. Add the room temperature butter and lard and blend together, using your fingers. Mix well until the mixed ingredients look and feel like bread crumbs.
Add half the water to the mixture, kneed together. Pinch the dough with your fingers; if it is too dry, add up to 30 ml (two tablespoons) of ice water until the dough blends together.
Turn the dough out onto a cool work surface. Form the dough into two disks, then wrap each disk in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 1½ hours (24 hours maximum).
Combine turkey mixture and pastry
Pre-heat your oven to 350 F and place the oven rack at the lowest level.
Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (5 minutes), then roll the disk to approximately 6 cm larger than the pie tin, with a thickness of 3 mm. Work as quickly as you can, sprinkling a little bit of flour onto the surface and the top of the dough to prevent it from sticking. If the dough becomes too sticky or pliant, put it back in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Working still with the pasty, ease it down into the pie tin and press lightly. There should be excess pastry hanging over the rim of the tin.
Using a serving spoon, fill your pie tin with the now-cooled filling to the desired level. Roll out a small cut of pastry, enough to cover the pie. Seal the pie by crimping the edges. Then run a sharp knife around the plate gently cutting off any excess pastry.
Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg. Place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Keep a sharp eye on the pie after 35 minutes to ensure you do not over- cook the crust. When baked, the pie should be golden brown.
Serve with vegetables of your choice and thick gravy. Enjoy!
Ian Leatt, advertising director at Pegasus Publications Inc., worked as a chef for several years in his native Jersey, in the Channel Islands.