This is not a household that often has leftovers. I should be grateful for that. I should be grateful that even when a recipe can feed four, it’s usually demolished that very night (I don’t call him The Hungry One for nothing). It leaves my tupperware at glorious loose ends. At the bottom of my cupboard there is a sweet little creche for compatible lids and bottoms. I usually have plenty of containers to put spices and dried beans in. It also means that on the rare occasion that I send people home with something, I don’t need to get too narky about getting the container back ASAP (because who wants to be that person, really?)

But last week, we were defeated.

On Monday I was doing some filming of festive side recipes (brussel sprouts and some slow carb stuffed mushrooms). We had arrived home from  Sweden at 11 pm on Wednesday night. I needed to send the ingredients list to the client by 11.30 the next day. Fine, except I hadn’t tested the recipes yet.

So I’m thankful for technology. Care of my iphone, wifi in Scandinavian airports and Ocado, I was able to put in a shopping order in the 25 minutes between flights. It arrived at 7.30 am on Thursday morning (with fresh milk for breakfast too).

And I’m grateful for friends. Since there were brussel sprouts in our kitchen far as the eye could see, it made sense to roast a turkey. So we did. I skipped the gym on Thursday afternoon and went and hauled this beast home from the markets instead. And on Friday we had some London friends over to help us eat it (well, I say London, but there were four Australians and one Canadian at the table).

But try as we might, the five of us could not make it through. You see, there was apple pecan pie to eat. There was roasted sprouts, plus a slaw to plough through. And there was a mushroom sauce (my preference over gravy any day).

So the next morning I contemplated the left over shards of turkey. It could have gone on toasted sandwiches. It could have made a hash, with sweet potatoes and cranberry relish. But what dried fowl needs is a gentle sauce to help nurse bring it back to life. Here it cuddled up with leeks, sauteed mushrooms and a blanket of a blonde fricasee, twinkling with a touch of Dijon. And it needed was a cap of pastry. A base might be overkill, a crisp top of shortcrust to protect it was plenty enough.

Beneath the crust there was a gorgeous tumble of brown meat and white, lightly scented by a bay leaf, with steam creeping up through a central flume.

We ate it on the couch while drinking the second bottle of champagne that  we forgot we’d chilled the night before. And we were grateful for that too.

(Hoping all of you who are reading stateside are having a very joyous Thanksgiving).

Turkey Pot Pie

Perfect for leftover meat from big festive roasts; whether turkey or chicken.  You could easily substitute the leek for brown onion and the mushrooms for spinach or diced carrot and celery.

Serves 2 hungry ones, or 4 with a side of white bean puree or mushy peas  and a green salad.


1x20cm pie dish. 1 rolling pin. 1 pastry brush. 1 saucepan.


325 grams of cooked turkey or chicken meat, pulled off the bone and roughly chopped  (a mix of brown and white is nice)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 leek, cut into slim coins
150 grams of mushrooms, sliced
25 grams of butter
25 grams of plain flour
1/2 cup of warm milk
1 cup of warm chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
225 grams of shortcrust pastry
1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Here’s how we roll

1)  Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Add the olive oil to a frypan and sautee both the leeks and mushrooms until soft.

2) Place the chopped turkey meat in the bottom of your pie dish.

3) Begin making the roux which will form the base of your sauce. Melt the butter in a fry pan and sift in the flour.

4) Stir over a medium heat until it clumps together into a blonde, sandy pile. Cook for a minute or so until it turns fawn- about the colour of Jennifer Aniston’s hair.

5) Pour in the warm milk and stir around over a low heat  (if the milk is the same temp as the roux it will help prevent lumps).

6) Pour in the chicken stock and cook over a medium heat, stirring, until you have a nice smooth, custard-consistency sauce. Nb, if you have too many lumps, you can always strain the sauce, work out the lumps and then pour it back into the pan.

7) Add the bay leaf and the tablespoon of Dijon mustard. Stir to combine.

8 ) Combine the leeks and mushrooms with the sauce and pour over the chicken.

9) Gently combine it all in the pie dish and place the bay leaf in the centre (you don’t want to eat this, just for it to flavour the pie).

10 ) Roll out your pastry so there is at least 1 cm over hang from the diameter of your dish. Transfer over the top of the pie filling and lightly pinch the edges to seal and create a raised crust.  Brush with egg wash. Cut a small circle from the centre and use any overhang to create a coiled border.

11) Bake for 40-50 minutes until the pastry is bronzed. Serve with mushy peas, or mashed potato, white bean puree and a green salad. And perhaps some left over champagne.