Waiting for me under the Christmas tree was Food from Plenty, a cookbook by one of my favorite food writers, Diana Henry. According to the book jacket, leftovers are the heart of this book. Diana Henry, who has a knack of turning prosaic things into extraordinary things, points out that the French eloquently term leftovers as les delicieux petites restes. This roughly translates as “the delicious small remains” – a decided improvement over thinking of them as plain, old leftovers. No doubt, when I’ve had a more through perusal of the book, I will write it up in detail, but for now, immediately post-holidays, it seemed appropriate to talk of les delicieux petites restes.
I have always loved leftovers. They truly are delicious small remains. As ingredients, they present both a challenge and a creative adventure in the kitchen. For the most part, I rely on spicy curries, original pasta sauces, savory pies, pilaffs (& other grain based dishes), rustic salads and soups to form the basis of my leftover adventures, transforming the “small remains” into something different, something special.
In our house, immediately post turkey-heaven Christmas, there is the obligatory turkey curry (remember Bridget Jones?) which I make from a 20 year old recipe cut from a Bon Appétit magazine, spicy turkey enchiladas and dill-laden turkey croquettes. Combined with the leftovers from the Boxing Day ham, is a traditional turkey and ham pie with lots of leeks in a creamy mustard sauce under a puff pastry lid.
Turkey & Ham Pie
There any number of variations on turkey and ham pie, traditions from the length and breadth of the UK (like British Blokes Cooking’s Turkey, Ham & Sausage Stuffing Pie). This is equally good with chicken from the leftover chicken roast.
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 3 leeks, trimmed and sliced
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 Tablespoons potato flour
- 2 cups turkey stock
- 1 heaping Tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 cups cooked turkey, cut into chunks
- 2 cups cooked ham, cut into chunks
- Puff pastry
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a frying pan, sauté leeks in the oil until soft. Add the fresh dill and sprinkle on the potato flour. Stir until the flour has been absorbed into the oil. Pour on the stock, stirring so the mixture does not become lumpy. Add the mustard. Simmer until the mixture thickens. Add the sour cream and stir until it is blended. Gently fold in the turkey and ham chunks. Turn off heat and let cool slightly.
Put the mixture in a shallow baking pan, Roll out puff pastry. Cover the pie with the pastry, sealing the edges with beaten egg. Trim the edges and brush the top with egg. Make decorations from the trimmings and add these, further brushing with egg. Cut several slits in the top and put in oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes.