Christmas Leftovers

26 Dec 2011

With Christmas just passed, many of us might still have leftovers filling up our fridges. Most of us inevitably over-estimate what is needed and end up with a fridge and pantry overflowing with leftovers. With food waste escalating in many parts of the world, others go hungry and there is no excuse to waste anything this Christmas. Here are a few of my favorite tips for using up common leftovers, and a recipe for pie that uses roasted meats.

Cold duck and goose are great in a simple sandwich but if you have enough make a salad of red cabbage with dried cranberries, walnuts and apple and serve with thin slivers of the meat. The turkey carcass makes the best stock of all so make sure to chop it up and let it bubble away in a pot for a few hours with a few carrots an onion and a stalk or two of celery, the resulting broth is good enough to eat on it’s own, so light and soothing after a series of rich meals. Left over Brussels sprouts make a delicious gratin when covered with parsley sauce and some freshly grated cheese. Cranberry sauce will keep but is surprisingly good with chocolate mousse or in a meringue roulade. Finally left over roast potatoes make a tasty salad tossed with lots of spring onions, parsley and a few dollops of mayonnaise. Every morsel can be used up in a delicious way so be creative and enjoy!

Turkey and Ham Pie
Try to keep some leftover turkey and ham for this delicious pie – it’s the most scrumptious way to use up roasted meats and can be topped with fluffy mashed potatoes or a puff pastry lid.

Makes 2 pies / serves 12

2 lbs (900 g) cold turkey meat
1 lb (450 g) cold ham or bacon
1 oz (30 g) butter
1-2 tsp. grated fresh ginger (optional)
12 ozs (340 g) chopped onion
8 ozs (225 g) flat mushrooms or button if flats are not available
1 clove of garlic
30 fl oz (900 ml) well flavored turkey stock or 20 fl oz (568 ml) stock and 10 fl oz (300 ml) turkey gravy
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp chopped chives
2 teaspoons fresh marjoram or tarragon if available
¼ pint (150 ml) cream
1 lb (450 g) puff or flaky pastry or 2 lbs (900 g) Duchesse Potato
2 x 2 pints (1.1 L) capacity pie dishes

Cut the turkey and ham into 1 inch (2.5 cm) approx. pieces. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, add the chopped onions and ginger if using, cover and sweat for about 10 minutes until they are soft but not colored. Meanwhile wash and slice the mushrooms. When the onions are soft, stir in the garlic and remove to a plate. Increase the heat and cook the sliced mushrooms, a few at a time. Season with salt and freshly-ground pepper and add to the onions and garlic. Toss the cold turkey and ham in the hot saucepan, using a little extra butter if necessary; add to the mushrooms and onion. De-glaze the saucepan with the turkey stock. Add the cream and chopped herbs. Bring it to the boil, thicken with roux, add the meat, mushrooms and onions and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and correct the seasoning.

Fill into the pie dishes, and pipe rosettes of potato all over the top. Bake in a moderate oven, 190C/375F/regulo 5, for 15-20 minutes or until the potato is golden and the pie is bubbling.

Alternatively, if you would like to have a pastry crust, allow the filling to get quite cold. Roll out the pastry to about 1/8-inch (3 mm) thickness, then cut a strip from around the edge the same width as the lip of the pie dish. Brush the edge of the dish with water and press the strip of pastry firmly down onto it; wet the top of the strip again. Cut the pastry into an oval just slightly larger than the pie dish. Press this down onto the wet border, flute the edges of the pastry with a knife and then scallop them at roughly 1-inch (2.5 cm) intervals. Make a hole in the centre to allow the steam to escape while cooking.
Brush with egg wash and bake in a preheated oven, 250C/475F/regulo 9, for 10 minutes; then turn the heat down to moderate, 180C/350F/regulo 4, for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and the pie is bubbling.
Serve with a good green salad.

Darina Allen
Slow Food Ireland

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