Feast not fast day

It is still the Octave of Christmas. So if you were planning avoiding meat, this being a Friday, think again. It is very much time for feasting in fullness as we continue to rejoice at our Saviour’s birth. Hold the diet off until the season is over!

In our house Hayley is the better baker and I the enthusiastic cook. And being a rather portly cleric some people wonder if, besides cooking, I ‘ate all the pies?’ Not quite but I do enjoy a good one. So let me share a recipe, taken from Lisa Faulkner’s ‘Recipes from my mother’. I highly recommend both her book (which is strongly family focused) and this ingenious use of left over Turkey. It makes a feast out of the leftovers.

Serves 6: Ingredients

150g pancetta (or bacon), 3-4 fresh thyme sprigs, 1.5kg leeks (trimmed and sliced), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, knob of butter, 800g of cooked turkey, 50g flour, 2 pints chicken stock, 50ml double cream, 375g pack of ready made puff pastry (or make your own!) 1 egg (beaten) Salt and pepper.


Heat a large frying pan and cook the pancetta and thyme for 3-4 mins on a med/high heat.

Add the leaks with the olive oil and butter. Reduce the heat to low and soften for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure leeks dont stick or burn!

Add the turkey and stir well. Mix in the flour and then pour over stock. Add the cream and season to taste. Bring all to the boil and then take the pan off the heat.

Using a slotted spoon place mixture into a large pie dish. If gravy seems nice and thick pour it over. If still too runny- boil a little longer to reduce.

Grease the rim of the dish and roll the pastry out to cover. Pinch the edges to seal and brush with the beaten egg to produce a lovely golden brown.

Bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes. Delicious!

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4 thoughts on “Feast not fast day

  1. Your recipe sounds delicious. Had the last of our turkey not – like Elvis – already left the building we would certainly have given it a try. However, it seems you are ever the controversialist even when that is obviously not your intent. Fierce debate has been raging in these parts as to whether placing a layer of puff pastry over what is essentially a small casserole entitles the resultant dish, however tasty, to be called a “pie”.
    I recently saw a pub diner throw a complete OTT wobbly when served a similar dish – advertised as “steak and kidney pie” – and confess that I always feel slightly cheated when presented with a mere simulacrum of a “proper” pie, i.e. one completely encased in short crust pastry. I further suspect that in, the context of the manly meat pie, puff pastry may be an example of the enforced “feminization” you so frequently allude to. What do your readers think?
    More power to your culinary elbow. Happy New Year.

    1. I probably lean towards supporting you. It works however. Though one could easily prebake a pastry bottom and then make a lid if so moved.

      1. At the risk of wading into a male pie dispute I would point out that you can’t really make a decent bottom pie crust with either puff or indeed suet pastry so, if using either of those, the “casserole with the hat on” is really the only option. With shortcrust I agree you can do a top and bottom crust as well.
        So far as filling is concerned I have long been of the view that a cream or milk based sauce for a poultry pie can actually risk being a bit icky. I use a common or garden gravy made from stock and wine with, maybe, some cranberry or apple saice added to it.

    2. The pie is one of the best meals of the octave – rather better than the original turkey it’s made from I think. It’s even better with chopped up boiled ham in it – the perfect meat and poultry marriage. I would forgo the cream and make a bechamel sauce to hold it altogether, mind. And agree with Steve – it’s better with a bottom.

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