Leftovers. Both a blessing and a curse, they can be the most convenient thing in your fridge, or that tub of mystery meat that you don’t want to throw out but you’re absolutely tired of eating.
Enter pies: one tool in the modern cook’s arsenal to repurpose just about everything that you can throw in it. Just sandwich it between layers of puff pastry and call it a pie!
And what is that? Creamy cheese sauce? Why I think I will, thank you very much.
(Makes 4 pies)
40g (1/4 cup) plain flour
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
1 leek, white part only
200g chopped ham (or any leftover cooked meat)
50-60g tasty cheese (1 cup) tasty cheese
10g porcini mushrooms
125ml (1/2 cup) cream
4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, for brushing
Extra butter (or garlic butter), for sautéing
Preheat your oven to 180C (fan forced).
Soak porcini mushrooms in 125ml (1/2 cup) hot water. Leave for at least 5 minutes.
Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan, then add flour all at once. Cook, stirring, over medium heat for a couple of minutes till mixture starts to darken slightly.
Turn the heat down to low and whisk in stock. Simmer till mixture thickens slightly.
Add porcini mushroom water to the sauce, and stir. Stir in cream and simmer again, till mixture starts to thicken.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the white part of the leeks and mushrooms (both fresh and rehydrated porcini). Heat the garlic butter (2 tsp butter, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp minced parsley) till foaming, then add mushrooms, leek and a pinch of salt.
Sauté till lightly browned, add ham and fry over medium heat till ham is warmed through and browned. Add the cream sauce and cheese, and stir over low heat till cheese melts.
Lay two sheets of puff pastry over each other and slice into half.
These will make the top and bottom of your pie. Fold the top layer in half and, using a pair of scissors, make incisions into the folded side, leaving a border around the edge.
Remove the plastic and lay the bottom sheet on a baking tray. Add a quarter of the filling onto the centre of the pastry, making sure that you leave enough space for the pastry to seal. Top with the second, cut layer of pastry, and use the prongs of a fork to seal the edges. Brush with beaten egg.
Bake till pie is puffed and golden brown. About 20-30 minutes.
Great to quickly whip up if you want to use up random leftovers in the fridge, and also very handy to have around if you have company coming over! If you’re pre-making the pies, simply heat them up in a hot oven till they’re warm in the middle – they are pretty flat, so they won’t take too long!