Thursday, 29 December 2011

Turkey, gammon and leek pie

There are few things more satisfying than a properly made pie, requiring the basic but core skills of meat cookery, pastry and sauce making to produce something homely yet impressive.

This is an great way to use up Christmas leftovers but is excellent any time of the year-just substitute chicken for the turkey meat. I usually remove the legs of the turkey and just roast the crown. I confit the legs in goose fat in a slow cooker and make stock from the remaining turkey carcass which comes in particularly handy for this recipe.

The mix of roast breast meat and rich confit leg works very well and the stock is perfect for the veloute sauce. If you're cooking a gammon especially for this recipe, you can use the cooking liquor to make the veloute instead, otherwise a stock cube will also do just fine.

(serves 4-6)

500g cooked turkey meat, diced
200g cooked gammon, diced

For the pastry
300g plain flour
150g butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg yolk
water to bind
pinch of salt

For the poached leek
1 large leek
25g butter
250ml turkey or chicken stock to cover
salt and pepper

For the tarragon veloute
50g butter
35g plain flour
500ml turkey or chicken stock or gammon poaching liquor
100ml cream
1 dssp chopped tarragon
salt and pepper

Egg wash made with 1 egg and 1 tbsp milk whisked together

1. In a large bowl, rub the butter into the flour and salt until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk and enough water to bind into a dough. Work lightly with the dough but make sure its well combined, otherwise it will crumble when you try to roll it out. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
2. Trim the leek by cutting off the green leaves and removing the first layer of skin. Slice into 1cm rounds and soak in cold water for 20 minutes to remove any dirt.
3. Melt the butter in pan and add the drained leeks in one layer. Cover with stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover the leeks with a butter paper or cartouche and poach until tender. Drain, retaining the cooking liquid and set aside.
4. Make the veloute by melting the butter in a pan and stirring in the flour. Cook for a minute or two, stirring continuously. Add the stock a ladle at a time, stirring all the time. Bring to the boil , reduce the heat and add the cream. Simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes. Add the tarragon and season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the turkey, gammon and leeks to the veloute and stir well to combine and set aside.
6. Butter a deep sided 22cm pie tin.
7. Remove the rested pastry from the fridge and set aside one third. Roll out the remaining two thirds on a well floured work surface to a 3mm thickness. Line the pie tin with the rolled pastry, trimming the edges with the back of a knife. Egg wash the lip of the pie base
8. Pour the filling into the pie and place a pie funnel in the centre. Roll out the remaining pastry and cover the pie. Using a fork, press the the two layers of pastry together, trimming the excess with the back of a knife.
9. Cut a small X in the centre of the top of the pie to allow the funnel to protrude and egg wash the top of the pie. Bake in the oven at 180ÂșC for 40 minutes or until golden brown.
10. Serve with boiled new potatoes and green beans, both tossed in the reserved leek cooking liquor.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Rye and beer bread

I developed this recipe after interviewing butcher George McCartney about his hand made corned beef which was named Supreme Champion in this year's Guild of Fine Food Awards.

He was kind enough to ship me some over from his shop on the outskirts of Belfast, mentioning that his favourite way to eat the beef was with homemade rye bread. Its such a delicious, special and painstakingly made product that I thought the very least I could do to honour it would be to make some rye bread of my own to go with it.

Barry Hawthorne of the Isle of Skye Baking Co. had also be kind enough to send me off with a parting gift of some ales from the Isle of Skye Brewery when I visited him earlier this year and it seemed the ideal opportunity to put one bottle of it to good use. The results were spectacular even if I do say so myself. I hope when you try making this bread that you agree. Just make sure you’ve got some of that corned beef to enjoy with it (list of stockists here ).

Rye and beer bread
(Makes two loaves)


500ml Isle of Skye Brewery Hebridean Gold porridge oat and malt ale or beer of your choice
200ml water
20g fresh yeast/10g dried active yeast
500g rye flour
250g wholegrain seeded flour
250g strong white flour
20g lard
10g sea salt
10g smoked sea salt
10g caster sugar

1. Heat the ale and water in a microwave for 30 secs or until tepid. Alternatively heat gently in a pan.
2. Measure the remaining ingredients into the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer. Afix the dough hook attachment and mix at the lowest setting to combine.
3. Slowly pour in the liquid and mix for 5 minutes on the lowest setting. Turn the machine off and scrape down the hook with a flexible spatula. Mix for a further 5 minutes or until the dough has come together and looks bouncy and alive.
4. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently but firmly into a ball. Set aside in the cleaned bowl, covered, in warm draft-free place for an hour or until doubled in size.
5. Knock back the dough, divide into two and form into a loaf shape. Cover and allow to rise again for an hour or until nearly doubled in size.
6. Bake in a hot oven (about 200 to 220°C for a fan oven or 240°C for a normal oven) until nicely coloured. Cool fully on a rack before slicing and serving with McCartney’s of Moira’s corned beef.