leek and turkey pie

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I like to watch cooking shows–a lot. Most of my “cooking knowledge” comes from information that I have gathered from the shows. However, it is rare that I choose to make a dish prepared on one of the shows. But this dish, leek and turkey pie, I could not pass up. As my dad and I watched Jamie Oliver prepare this pie, effortlessly and full of character, we looked at each other, the same thought crossing our minds: we have to make this.

If you are a fan of chicken pot pie, or really, any savory pie, you will love this pie. The bulk of the pie consists of about 4 1/2 pounds of leeks. Yes, you read correctly: 4 1/2 pounds. But these leeks will cook down amazingly, sweet and tender. Do not be intimidated be the length of the instructions; this recipe is really very simple!

Leek and Turkey Pie recipe thanks to Jamie Oliver

  • 2-3 pieces bacon, roughly diced
  • Bunch of thyme leaves, picked off stem (about 6 sprigs)
  • Lug of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 1/2 pounds leaks, washed thoroughly, white end roughly chopped & green end finely sliced
  • Salt (preferably Kosher or sea salt) and pepper to taste
  • 1 3/4 pounds turkey breast, roughly chopped (This turkey was intended to be from a leftover “Thanksgiving” turkey. My dad and I simply asked the butcher at the meat counter for turkey breast. Feel free to use more or less.)
  • 3 heaping Tablespoons flour
  • 2 pints vegetable or turkey stock
  • Pie crust (The original recipe used puff pastry; the grocery store was out of this, so Dad and I made our own pie crust; the recipe comes from my dad’s mom, my Grandma.)
    • 2 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
    • 6 Tablespoons cold butter
    • 6 Tablespoons vegetable shortening (I use Spectrum, which is Trans-fat free.)
    • Ice water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Steamed peas for a side, optional

1. Add bacon, thyme, extra-virgin olive oil, and butter into a large pan (This pan must be able to contain 4 1/2 pounds of leeks, with wiggle room.) on medium heat. Allow everything to fry for a few minutes.

Bacon, thyme, oil, and butter frying away.

2. Add leeks. Toss the leeks so they are well coated in the bacon, thyme, oil, and butter.

4 1/2 pounds of leeks = green goodness.

Carefully tossing the leeks with the bacon, thyme, oil, and butter.

3. Toss in some salt and pepper (don’t be shy), and put on the lid. Turn the heat down to medium, and allow the leeks to become tender for about 30 minutes. Stir every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure nothing is sticking to the sides of the pan.

4. If you are choosing to make your own pie crust, now is a good time to do so. Start by cutting the cold butter and shortening into the flour (in a bowl), until there are no visible large lumps of butter or shortening. Add ice water, starting with 4 Tablespoons. Use your hands to gently work the dough, adding more ice water in very small amounts until the dough comes together. The dough should be smooth–not sticky. Set dough aside.

5. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

6. Once the leeks are tender, add turkey and stir. Feel free to add in any other meat or fixings you have leftover, such as stuffing.

The leeks after cooking down for 30 minutes, all happy and tender.

7. Sprinkle in flour, and stir it in well. Pour in stock and stir once again. Then, bring leeks to a boil. Once at a boil, turn heat off, and taste for salt and pepper (add more if necessary, and give it a stir).

Turkey, flour, and stock included in the leek mixture, ready to be strained.

8. Carefully pour the leek mixture through a sieve or strainer that has been fashioned over a bowl. A wonderful gravy will be left in the bowl (do not throw it away!). While the leeks are straining, roll out pie crust or puff pastry to largely fit a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Save extra dough for cinnamon sugar pie crusts treats, if desired.*

The pie crust, rolled out to a perfect, even thickness by Dad. Good work!

9. Spoon strained leek mixture evenly into baking dish. Top with pie crust or puff pastry, tucking in at the sides. Score the top of the pastry with long diagonal cuts (not too deep). Paint the egg wash over the dough with a pastry brush (We don’t have one at home, so we used a clean, brand-new spongy paint brush–whatever works!).

The strained mixture, about to be covered; this could feed an army.

Crust on. Scored-check. Egg wash, done. Ready for the oven!

10. Pop the pie in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked through. We baked our pie for 35 minutes at 375 degrees and then allowed it to cook for another 5 minutes with the broiler on.

11. Towards the end of the baking time for the pie, add the reserved gravy into a pan over medium heat. Add a large sprinkle of flour. Whisk in flour vigorously, until most of the lumps are gone. Bring up to a rolling boil and then turn heat down to medium. Whisk, and turn heat to low to allow the gravy to thicken.

Gravy (save your extras!).

12. If steaming peas, begin steaming now; they take all of a couple minutes.

13. When the pie is done, allow it to rest for a few minutes (until it has stopped bubbling) before digging in. Serve the pie with steamed peas and a slosh of the gravy.

Mmm..piping hot and a lovely golden brown crust.

Now it's time to dig in!

*For the cinnamon sugar pie crust treats: Egg wash the left over pie crusts, and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake along with the pie until golden brown and crispy. My mom always used to make these when she made chicken pot pie as a special treat.

This was a perfect, cozy Christmas dinner to snuggle up with on the couch.

Happy Holidays!

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