Boxing Day turkey, ham and thyme pie

This is my fourth Lean on Turkey challenge, supporting our fabulous British turkey farmers and showing you just how versatile turkey is.  In the last three recipes, I’ve told you that turkey’s not just for Christmas,but FINALLY I can tell you that it’s for Christmas too!

This time the chaps have challenged me to create a recipe with leftovers, and it just HAD to be the Boxing Day Pie.  It’s a tradition in our house to bake a MASSIVE leftover pie on Boxing Day. If you’ve got stuffing leftover, pop it in too, it tastes delicious.  Served with a stir fry of leftover veggies, it’s a feast as good as the one on Christmas Day.  Here’s how to do it:

You will need:

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil

1 large white onion

Lots of leftover turkey (a good couple of double handfuls, shredded, depending on how large your pie dish is)

Leftover ham: this can be from a roast ham, or just any ham you have lying around

Any leftover stuffing

Small tub of double cream

About 200-300ml chicken stock (cube is fine, or use watered down leftover gravy)

Herbs: I wanted to use tarragon, but apparently there’s a ‘shortage’ (?), so I opted for thyme out of the garden

Shortcrust pastry (bought or home made)

For the pastry

So firstly, if you’d like to make your own pastry, you’ll need:

200g cold butter

400g plain flour

Pinch salt

1 egg

Cold water

Cut the cold butter into cubes, and add it to the flour.  Add in the salt, and then rub in the butter gently with just your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Keep everything as cool as you can, including your hands.  Add the egg, and a couple of tablespoons of cold water, just enough to bring it together.  It’s less messy initially so use a knife to just stir it around until it starts to form clumps, then, with your hands, bring it together into a dough. Don’t knead it, remember, just treat it very gently.  Now just wrap it in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge to rest while you make the filling.

For the pie

So gently fry the onion in the oil until translucent and add in the shredded turkey and leftover ham (snipped into little pieces, or chopped), season well (not too much salt – the ham’s salty) and then add a generous splosh of cream. Pour in the stock and leave to bubble away and reduce a little (you don’t want too much ‘juice’ in the pie as it will make the pastry soggy).  Add in the fresh herbs and allow to cool while you roll out the pastry.

This is a good time to preheat the oven to 180/gas 4.

In our house, it’s absolutely obligatory that the pie has a bottom, the boys insist upon it, but if you want, you can omit the bottom and just cover the top with pastry.  So flour your work surface AND your rolling pin really well. Divide your pastry into two pieces: one about 2/3 for the base and the other 1/3 for the top.

Roll the larger piece out to about 5-6mm thick, moving the pastry around in 1/4 turns as you roll until you’ve got a rough circle. This will prevent the pastry from sticking to the work surface.  Roll the pastry up around the rolling pin, then unroll it over your pie dish. Push it down gently, and use little extra bits to fill any holes or cracks.

Now spoon in your cooled filling. Don’t put hot filling into the pie as it will begin to melt the butter and you’ll get the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’!

Now do the same thing with the final third of pastry. Unroll it over your filling and crimp the edges with your fingers, or a fork so that they’re sealed together.

If you’re feeling arty, make some letters, then transfer to the eggy wash department (I use a stray child) for a brush with beaten egg or milk and pop in the oven for about half an hour.

And that’s it.  Hopefully it will become a tradition in your house too!

There’s really no pricing with this as most of it is home made or leftover, but it’s definitely cost effective, and delicious.

For more information on the Lean on Turkey campaign, head to