A leftover turkey and ham pie is a seasonal classic and will appear on many tables after both Christmas and Thanksgiving.
In the days that follow the main festival warming comforting food is very much still in order and on the menu, but I still want to eat relatively healthily (or at least leave some room for Stilton and chocolates – talking of Stilton my Stilton steak sauce is delicious with leftover Christmas Stilton), so I’ve made some substitutions to make these pies slightly lighter and smaller.
An individual serving always looks more appealing and impressive and also cuts out the need for a second helping. I have made the sauce lighter by using a mix of semi skimmed milk and stock (if you are using home made stock make sure to skim the fat off, and also to dilute it a little with water). Finally the topping is made from one sheet of filo pastry, scrunched up to give lots of volume and texture, but with far fewer calories and bulk than regular pastry.
Here’s how to cook the perfect Christmas Turkey and what to do with all the leftovers!
- 30 g butter
- 2 tbs flour
- 200 ml turkey or chicken stock
- 120 ml semi skimmed milk
- 2 tbs cranberry sauce
- 250 g leftover roasted turkey - mix of white and brown meat - diced
- 80 g leftover roast ham - diced
- 60 g sweetcorn
- 4 sheets filo pastry
Place the butter into a saucepan and melt over a gentle heat, add the flour and stir in to make a smooth paste. Cook for a few minutes stirring all the time.
Slowly start to add the stock, bit by bit stirring all the time, until you have a smooth liquid and no lumps. Add the remainder of the stock and the milk and simmer until you have a smooth sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cranberry sauce, turkey, ham and sweetcorn. Divide between 4 individual pie dishes or individual casseroles.
Shape the filo pastry toppings by scrunching each sheet up from the middle and then shaping with both hands. Place each scrunched sheet on top of each pie.
Bake according to the packet instructions (usually 200C / 180Fan / GM 6) for about 15 mins until the filo is golden brown and the pie filling piping hot and bubbling.
Christmas or Thanksgiving is a family occasion, and a time to enjoy oneself, food poisoning is not a Christmas gift that anyone wants to give anyone, and for the vulnerable – young children and the elderly it can be life threatening. Cooking a turkey properly is largely common sense, make sure it is properly defrosted, weigh it and use one of the numerous online calculators to work out how long to cook it for.
To be properly cooked a turkey needs to reach a temperature of 70C at its thickest part (between the breast and the thigh). Cooking times do vary, and oven thermometers are not always accurate, so it is best to check with a temperature probe.
I used the SuperFast Thermapen® 4 thermometer to check the doneness (or in my case over-doneness) of my turkey. This handheld digital thermometer has a sharp pointed probe that easily reaches the centre of a cooked, or raw turkey (useful to check to see if it really has fully defrosted and reached room temperature). It takes the temperature reading in under three seconds, the display is automatically backlit in dim light, and will swivel round so it can always be read upright – a bonus if you are left handed like me and always have to read things upside down.
The probe measures between -49.9 and 299.9C. The steel probe is very easy to clean, and if you put the Thermapen down and leave it, it will go to sleep and not run the battery down (although the battery has an estimated life of a massive 3000 hours). If you do run the battery down it takes a standard and affordable AAA replacement.
The Thermapen comes in a range of 10 colours and has a retail price of £60. As well as being very handy for ensuring that your Christmas turkey is correctly cooked, the Thermapen is very useful for other recipes, especially jam & jelly making and for confectionery where the temperature of a sugar syrup is critical to a successful result.
Recipe commissioned by Thermapen®. All opinions our own.