The Ultimate Turkey and Ham Pie
The fridge is heaving with leftovers. Christmas is a time for extravagance and gluttony but most of us cook far more than we are ever going to need. Despite freezing the legs and one breast from our massive turkey, there is still plenty awaiting further instruction. The ham has a similar story and sitting beside a leftover piece of homemade puff pastry in my fridge – there was only ever going to be one outcome. A pie. Not just any pie – the ultimate turkey and ham pie. A pie made with the love and patience that only Christmas time affords. If you are unable to show this pie the love and patience it deserves then you can, of course, take a few shortcuts. Be aware though, with each shortcut taken you lose a little of its glory.
Homemade puff pastry is a step too far for most people but this year I decided to make a batch for the freezer in early December. It isn’t as difficult as people think and it does make a discernible difference but I will forgive anyone who decides that the shop bought alternative is sufficient. The same forgiveness will not be afforded to anyone who uses a stock cube in this recipe however. The flavour of the homemade stock makes an incredible difference and forms the base flavour of the pie. A turkey stock made from the Christmas carcass is the ideal but a good homemade chicken stock will also give a great result. If you must buy stock, buy it in liquid form and preferably organic – check the ingredients for any nasties or colouring (you’d be surprised).
Finally, this pie can quite easily be made with chicken, other poultry or game. The ham is pretty essential as it seasons the pie from within but the turkey can quite easily be swapped out. The glaze can be left on the ham but do remember to remove any cloves, there would be nothing worse than taking a bite of pie and ending up with a mouthful of cloves.
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion (very finely chopped)
2 medium Carrots (chopped)
300g leftover Cooked Ham (chopped)
350g leftover Cooked Turkey (chopped)
2 heaped tbsp Plain Flour
600ml Turkey/Chicken Stock
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 heaped tbsp Cranberry Sauce
1 sheet All-Butter Puff Pastry (rolled out to the thickness of a €1 coin)
1 Free-Range Egg (lightly whisked with a pinch of salt)
Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
Heat the butter and oil in a wide pan over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted and is beginning to foam, add the onion and carrot. Season liberally with salt and pepper before covering first with a cartouche (a disc of greaseproof paper) and then the lid of the pan. Reduce the heat right down to its lowest (you may need a heat diffuser on a gas hob) and allow the onion and carrot to sweat, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes.
Once the onion has softened and the carrot is tender but still has a bite, turn the heat up to medium and add the turkey and ham. Mix well, season and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the flour and stir well before cooking for a further 2 minutes. Slowly add the stock, stirring and scraping up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan in the process. Bring to a boil, stirring all of the time before reducing the heat to a simmer and adding the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and cranberry sauce. Allow to gently simmer for 5-6 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse. Check for seasoning.
Transfer the mix to a large pie dish, it should almost reach the top. Cut narrow strips from the pastry, brush with the beaten egg and stick these along the rim of the dish to form a pastry rim. Egg wash the top of the pastry rim and place the pastry over the dish, pushing down to form a seal with the rim. Trim the edges. Egg wash the top of the pie and decorate with shapes from the leftover pastry if you like. Egg wash a final time before putting into a 180 deg. C. oven for 40 minutes until the pastry is brown and crisp and the filling is piping hot.
As you can see below, I took one shortcut and it backfired! I skipped the pastry rim and instead attempted to simply stick the sheet of pastry directly to the rim of the dish – it didn’t work!