This is without a doubt the ultimate Ifits recipe! For those who aren’t aware of the term, an Ifits recipe is one made from left-overs – Ifit’s in the fridge/cupboard, we’re having it! And so I present to you a genius recipe for left-over Christmas food!
I do have a confession to make – I had the idea for this recipe long before I had the opportunity to have left-over Christmas dinner, and just had to try it! I bought all the ingredients in (in small quantities) and went for it. The result was so good, that I had a missive from mother insisting that we actually make this for Christmas Dinner proper, instead of the traditional roast! As it turns out, we were subsequently invited to a family affair elsewhere… but I wasn’t off the hook… we had this on Christmas Eve!
The original idea came to me while I was flicking through Lisa Faulkner’s The Way I Cook. She has a Chicken Pie recipe that includes a layer of stuffing in the pastry crust, so that got my mind going. I only really have stuffing with Christmas Dinner (well, unless I visit a Carvery and it’s just there) so my mind instantly turned towards festive food!
The base for the sauce, as well as the idea of the stuffing-in-the-pastry, is adapted from her recipe… the rest is all me.
And remember, it’s an Ifits, so use this only as a template, and chuck in whatever you’ve got!
170g pack stuffing (I used Cranberry & Orange)
A few shallots, quartered (or one thinly sliced onion)
50g plain flour
200ml chicken stock
200ml single cream
200g turkey (I used turkey steaks, sliced into bite-sized chunks!)
200g ham, cut into chunks (I bought a couple of gammon steaks)
200g sliced mushrooms
320g puff pastry
1 beaten egg
2 parsnips, diced
2 carrots, diced
2tsp white pepper
1tsp mustard powder
The measurements I’ve given above are for raw ingredients, because as I said before although I’ve pitched this as an Ifits, I actually cooked it from scratch to see if it would work!
This recipe is only very slightly different from the one pictured – I found the sauce too thin, so adjusted accordingly. This one is much thicker (in a good way).
This should serve 4 quite comfortably as it is, maybe as many as 6-8 depending on what you add in there, or what you serve on the side!
1. If you’re not using left-overs (or even if you are, I suppose!) make sure to cook all the meat/stuffing etc. to the packet guidelines.
1.5 (No, I didn’t forget to include this step originally, I just thought it only warranted a half-step!) Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC or 170ºC fan assisted.
2. Melt the butter in a large pan, over a medium heat.
3. Mix in the flour, pepper, and mustard powder, and stir constantly for a minute or two to create a rue.
4. Remove from the heat, and stir in the stock a little at a time, making sure the mixture smooths out again before adding more.
5. Do the same with the cream.
6. Return to the heat, and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or so.
7. Add the meat and veg, with a little salt if needed (depending on your ingredients), and stir through. Transfer to a pie-dish (Lisa recommends 1 litre… I recommend whatever size you have that doesn’t overflow, but fills near the top!)
8. Make sure to distribute the filling evenly in the pie-dish. Adjust the number of chipolatas to avoid fights (or cause them, depending on your humour). I put them in whole, but feel free to halve them if you prefer.
9. While the pie is resting (this is my code for saying you’re going to ignore it for a bit) roll out the pastry to twice the size of your pie dish.
10. On one half of the pastry, spread out the stuffing, leaving about an inch or so around, then fold the other half back over the top. Roll it again, to press the pastry into the stuffing.
11. Brush the edge of the pie dish with some of the beaten egg, and place the pastry on top. Use whatever pretty pattern you like to crimp the pastry to the dish… I just went around it pressing the tines of a fork into the side.
12. Skewer a couple of holes through the pastry, for steam vents, and then brush the entire surface of the pastry with the beaten egg, for a lovely golden colour when it bakes.
13. Pop into the oven for about 35 minutes.
14. Allow to cool for 5- 10 minutes, then serve.
Now – this should be more or less a freebie if you do it in true ifits style, but in the interests of fairness, I’ve costed it out based on what it would cost to buy the bits and bobs in specifically!
It didn’t look like it as the numbers were coming in, but today’s winner overall is Tesco, with a very respectable £19.42. Now this may seem like one of our more expensive recipes, but even if you’re not doing this as an Ifits freebie, I’m sure you’ll agree that £19.42 is cheap for a Christmas dinner that feeds four! It could also be made even cheaper if you made the pastry from scratch, as I’ve costed shop-bought.
ASDA clinch second, with a reasonable £20.34, followed by Sainsbury’s (who have been really upping their game lately) at £20.95.
Morrisons are some way behind with their very disappointing £22.81 offering.
If you’re going to do this as an ifits, then the entire thing will be a tweak to some extent or another, based on what your leftovers are.
The obvious tweaks are based on what trimmings you like – chuck some sprouts in there? Use pigs in blankets for your chipolatas? What kind of stuffing do you have left over? Good old Sage & Onion, or something a bit more extravagant? I deliberately chose the Orange & Cranberry one to bring in some more Christmas flavours, but I’ll admit I was concerned about the fruit being too wet for the pastry… but I needn’t have worried, it worked out just fine.
If you’re not a huge fan of creamy sauces, you could use a gravy instead.
As I’ve demonstrated by tweaking Lisa Faulkner’s recipe, this isn’t limited to Christmas Leftovers. I also tried a paprika chicken pie, with a layer of parmesan in the stuffing, and only chicken and red peppers inside, with some different spices. It was pretty tasty, but didn’t have the same Magic as the Christmas Dinner one!