I love cooking for big family occasions and when better to do this than during the Christmas season. The house is constantly busy and good humour is guaranteed when family and friends all come together. Often a lot of planning and shopping is needed to organise a successful family get together, but with the fridge packed with lots of lovely leftovers I normally try to include some of these ingredients when planning what to cook. I know that in recent years many people often opt for the 'anything but turkey' for their Christmas feast, but I must admit that I'm a traditional girl at heart and still have the urge to buy a turkey that can just about fit in the oven and enough ham to keep us in sandwiches for at least a good week after the big day. With the inevitable bowls of leftovers a little thought has to go into the post Christmas meal planning.
For the past number of years I have served a Turkey and Ham Pie for St. Stephen's Day. It's perfect for using up any of the previous days leftovers, which can include vegetables and stuffing. Alternatively some cooked chicken would also be perfect in place of the turkey and ham. If I have some mash potatoes they work wonderfully as a pie topper otherwise a sheet of puff pastry goes nicely with the sauce.
I would have cream in my fridge almost every day of the week, as a little dash of it goes a long way in so many dishes. However around the Christmas season I'm sure there's not a fridge in Ireland that hasn't a pot of creamy goodness tucked away in there somewhere! The concern that many will have with adding cream to dishes is the added saturated fat. I was delighted to see that Avonmore have brought out a new product especially for cooking called Avonmore Cooking Cream, which is similar to their double cream only it has half the saturated fat, which I think is really marvellous.
This is a really delicious wholesome dish which is sure to warm you up over the holidays. It is scrumptious served with a plain green salad and I'm sure this pie would be welcome at any family meal.
Creamy Christmas Leftover Pie
25g (1oz) Avonmore butter
25g(1oz) plain flour
For the filling
50g (2oz) butter
200g(7oz) mushrooms, sliced
1 leek, sliced
salt and pepper
800mls(1.5 pints) chicken/turkey/vegetable stock
200mls (7floz) Avonmore cooking cream
10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
sprig of fresh thyme
2 teasp wholegrain mustard
100g(4oz) frozen peas
500g(16oz) cooked turkey
250g(8oz) cooked ham
For the topping
400g(14oz) puff pastry rolled to 5mm thick
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
1.5kg(3.5lbs) mashed potatoes
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°f/gas 6.
2. First make the roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the flour and continue to stir for 2 minutes until the mixture comes away from the saucepan. Pour into a bowl and leave to one side.
3. Add half the butter to a large oven proof dish or saucepan and over a high heat fry the mushrooms for 4 minutes until soft. Remove to a plate.
4. Add the rest of the butter and add in the sliced leeks. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 15 minutes until soft but not coloured. Once cooked add to the mushrooms on the plate.
5. Using the same saucepan add the stock, cream, sage, thyme leaves and wholegrain mustard.
6. Bring to a boil, then whisk in the roux. The liquid must be boiling while you add the roux for the sauce to thicken without getting lumpy.
7. Return the cooked mushrooms and leeks to the saucepan. Add the peas, turkey and ham.
8. Either top with the puff pastry and glaze with some beaten egg or top with mashed potatoes.
9. Place the dish/saucepan on a baking tray in the preheated oven for 30 mins until the top is golden brown and the mixture bubbling hot.