We're all as guilty as the next person of forgetting about those sad carrots at the back of the fridge, or using the phrase 'I just don't fancy it right now'. We justify such choices, but they do eventually add up – in the UK’s case, to about 10m tonnes of food waste a year.
Not only is food waste such a crime, wasting good food that has been lovingly produced. Wasting food, in turn, forgets those who are not as lucky as us to have so much choice. It is also a horribly missed opportunity to get the best out of our ingredients.
We need to remove the stigma of 'leftovers' and instead see them as ingredients that are ready to be turned into something magnificent again, a little like a chef's mise en place, some of the work in getting to flavour Nirvana has already been done.
There is nothing more simple, and more satisfying still, as whacking all your gorgeous leftovers into a hearty pie. Throw in that leftover Christmas cheese, those last few shreds of festive ham, the drumsticks of the festive bird that never seem to get consumed at the same pace as the white meat, it can all go into the pot.
This is not so much of a recipe, but more of a guide and reminder not to scrape your yuletide treats into the bin, but instead take a little time, a couple of pinches of this and that, and treat yourself to a memorable meal - again.
- 200g Butter
- 300g Plain flour
- 500ml Grass Fed milk
- 500ml Ham cooking liquor
- 200g Quicke's smoked cheddar (or any leftover cheese)
- 300g Sliced sprouts (or any leftover cooked veg)
- 500g Leftover ham (or any leftover Christmas turkey)
- Half a nutmeg, grated
- Pure sea salt
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Melt the butter over a low to medium heat. Once completely melted, add the flour, beating it into the butter to make a paste. Gradually add the milk and the ham stock, whisking as you go, to make a luscious white sauce.
Grate the cheese and add to the white sauce along with half a grated nutmeg. Add the sprouts and the ham with a good pinch of sea salt. Pour the filling into a pie dish leaving enough room at the top for the pastry.
Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge and roll it to 1cm thickness. Lay over the top of the pie dish, then fork the edges down to seal.
Add a couple of steam holes, use a pastry brush to paint the egg wash over the pastry. This will give it a golden finish once cooked.
Bake in the oven at 200°C for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.