Friday, January 28, 2011

I see a pattern develping ...

I got to spend last Christmas in Ireland with A and his parents. I love his parents to bits and was glad to have the opportunity to spend such a special time of year with him and his folks. And his mother loves to cook and play hostess. I mean really loves. As in - for Christmas dinner she prepared a 12lb turkey, a half ham and a side of spiced beef in addition to the quazillion ways she prepared potatoes and the vegetable garden.

And did I mention it was only the 4 of us for dinner?

Needless to say there was plenty of food leftover. She said she was going to just toss out the turkey. And I balked. Turkey is one of my favorites and there are so many great ways to use the leftovers! Hot turkey sandwiches (my brother's go-to), turkey soup, turkey a-la-king, cold turkey sandwiches ... mmm ... My preference is to make turkey pies. So I said to V, 'Gimme the turkey and I'll make you turkey pies! You can stick em in the freezer and have dinners for ages'. She was delighted and handed over the bird. She and A fought over the pies (A's dad isn't a fan, so more for V) and I was really glad they both enjoyed them so much.

As I've mentioned, I spent Christmas in Calgary this year. When I got back, V had the leftover turkey waiting. She wants more pies.

I see a pattern developing ... :)

But I was delighted to oblige. So I made the pastry and set to work on the filling. If you like turkey pies and don't have a recipe, try this one. Its been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember and its super good. You can modify it as you like to suit your tastes. I added a jalapeno to it because I had it to use up and I like giving things a bit of a kick.

Turkey Pies (modified from my Nana's recipe)

1/4 cup each of chopped onion, carrot and celeriac
1 minced jalapeno
1 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
2 cups of chicken broth
1/3 cup each of cream and milk (or half n half if that's available where you are)
3-4 cups diced turkey
2 tsp worch worcke worces Lea & Perrins (you know what I mean)
1/2 cup frozen peas

So get everything together. I doubled the recipe because I had 9 (!) cups of diced turkey and I like my pies meaty. I've also left out the suggested tsp of salt as I find it can sometimes be too salty and having over-salted turkey pie filling is heart-breaking! You can always add salt at the end and it won't impact the process at all.

Melt the butter in a pot and add the onion, carrots, celeriac and jalapeno. Stir until coated.

I know it doesn't seem like much butter (the original recipe called for 4 tbsp instead of the 1 I used) but its enough to make a roux and it didn't affect the taste.

Cook until the onions are soft, being careful that they don't brown.

Add the flour and pepper and stir well. Gradually add chicken broth, stirring constantly (do this slowly. You don't want it to clump!) Add the cream and milk, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until the mixture is thickened. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Get your pastry all ready ...

... and fill

Cover em all with a top layer of pastry and either wrap well and freeze or bake at 425 for 10 minutes then turn down to 350 and bake for a further 15-20 mins.

Yummy and a half!! I can't even describe how good these are. A wants me to tell his mom we threw out the turkey by accident so he doesn't have to share! I can't say I blame him ... may need to have turkey dinner before next Christmas just for some more pies :)

So what do you do with leftover turkey?


Jenn x


  1. ps. I can't believe that all that turkey would have been tossed!

  2. I know!! I doubt she'll ever throw it away again. Word has even spread to his Grandmother, who said she would be saving her turkey for me next year too. I think I need a bigger pot :)

    Pies are such great comfort food and I love something I can pull out of the freezer and throw in the oven.