One of my favourite things about Christmas is entertaining. I’m never happier than when there are guests at our table, and the house is filled with the sounds of chinking glasses and chatter. I was delighted, then, when Waitrose asked me to share one of my favourite recipes for easy Christmas entertaining. In our house, we traditionally invite friends and family over for dinner on Boxing Day. It’s a great way to relax and unwind after the big day, and I tend to make a huge ‘Boxing Day pie’ using leftover turkey and ham, then just serve it simply with mashed potato and steamed veg. Of course, you don’t have to wait until Boxing Day – this pie is just as delicious using chicken instead of turkey, and it can be made well in advance and kept in the fridge ready to pop into the oven. Here’s how to make my festive pie:
For the pastry:
400g plain flour
1 large free range egg, beaten
Salt and pepper
For the pie filling:
2 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
450g Waitrose gourmet pork sausages (or leftover stuffing)
Splash of Marsala
500g leftover turkey, shredded
180g whole chestnuts (vacuum packed), chopped
1 pack Waitrose thick cut honey roast ham (or leftover Christmas ham), chopped
100g cranberries (fresh or frozen)
Small tub double cream
500ml chicken stock
First, make the pastry (although do feel free to buy it if you’d rather): cut the cold butter into cubes, add it to the flour and season well. Gently rub in the butter using just your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the egg and a couple of tablespoons of cold water to the mix – you’ll need just enough to bring it together into a rough dough. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop it in the fridge to rest while you make the filling.
To make the pie filling, heat the oil in a large heavy based pan and fry the chopped onion until translucent, then take the meat out of the sausage skins and add into the pan. Fry gently, breaking up the sausage meat, until it’s golden brown. Tip the mixture out into a bowl, then pop the pan back on the heat and add a generous splash of Marsala to deglaze the pan, scraping up any stuck bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Add the sausage mixture back in, along with the shredded turkey, chestnuts, ham and cranberries. Stir together then pour over the chicken stock and swirl in a generous glug of double cream. Cover the pan, turn down the heat and allow to cook for about 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat, then allow the filling to cool completely while you roll out the pastry. Divide the pastry roughly in two and reserve half for the lid. Roll out the base to about 5-6mm thick, moving the pastry around in 1/4 turns as you roll until you’ve got a rough circle. 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.
Using a slotted spoon, pile the cooled filling into the pie (if the filling is still warm it will begin to melt the butter and you’ll get the dreaded ‘soggy bottom’). Reserve the extra gravy to serve at the table. Roll out the pastry lid, then top the pie and crimp the edges with your fingers, or a fork so that they’re sealed together. If you want to decorate the pie, stick your design to the pastry with a little beaten egg, then give the whole lot a final egg wash. Refrigerate the pie until needed.
To cook: preheat the oven to 180/gas 4, then bake for around 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Et voila, a stunning way to wow your festive guests and make leftovers into a celebration meal in their own right. Remember, Waitrose are always here to provide the very best inspiration and recipe ideas to help you enjoy Christmas together. Check out all the wonderful recipes (including my own festive pie recipe!) for everything from canapés to edible gifts on the Christmas recipes section of the Waitrose website.
Waitrose Christmas Together
Even better, from today until 14th December, you can win some amazing festive prizes for you and a loved one by sharing photos and videos of how you’re spending #ChristmasTogether – click on the link for more information and full Ts and Cs.