We use our Christmas leftovers to make the Heston at Home Chicken and Ham Pie recipe (with turkey), it’s the classic Heston leftovers recipe.
Ready to feel old? It was TWO YEARS ago that we all probably watched the TV series How to Cook Like Heston, where we all saw the Fat Duck chef make this daft-as-a-brush Heston Blumenthal Chicken and Ham Pie recipe.
I admit, it sounds lovely. And one of our favourite Heston “things” is his way of taking humdrum everyday foods and making them exceptional (mashed potato recipe excluded). Typically this involves a LOT of extra work, and there’s no better example than this Heston Blumenthal Chicken and Ham Pie recipe.
I mean, come on, two hours of brining, five hours of simmering, sauce boiling, sauce cooling. You’d have to be an idiot to go to those kind of lengths. Obviously, everyone who writes for insearchofheston.com is an idiot in one way or another, but even we’ll take a shortcut where we can find it. We’ve looked at Heston’s Chicken and Ham Pie recipe and we reckon in the real world there’s between 7 and 9 hours of practical activity to prepare both the poultry and the ham before the pie-making business begins.
We figured we could skip all of that by using our Christmas leftovers – our gargantuan Christmas ham (made using our mate Gary’s brilliant salted caramel glaze recipe) and lots of leftover turkey, already brined and cooked sous vide.
All we’d need to do is a make a sauce and roll out some pastry. Not an awful lot of work, which is just what you want from a Christmas leftovers recipe, and especially a Heston Blumenthal leftovers recipe.
Aside from this all you should need is some cream (we have a few massive cartons in the house at this time of year) and some leeks. Oh and a bit of milk and some mustards, but we’re guessing you already have those. And agar powder. Don’t forget the agar powder.
Special Equipment: Stick blender
Special Ingredients: Agar powder
Time: 2 – 4 hours
Cost: £3.50 if your cupboards are well stocked.
Serves: We got 6 individual pies out of this
Step 1: Leeks
Dead easy, fry some leeks.
Now, in the Heston at Home / How to Cook Like Heston version of this recipe you’re supposed to render the fat out of some chicken skin first, and use that to cook the leaks. A crafty idea that adds more flavour.
Since our leftover turkey meat doesn’t have any chicken skin we’re using goose fat, left over from the roast potatoes. But butter or cooking oil would work fine. This is a simple leftovers recipe so just go easy on yourself. Use whatever.
Gently cook the leeks for 10 – 15 minutes or until soft.
Step 2: Sauce
This is the main part of Heston’s Chicken and Ham Pie recipe. Start it while the leeks are cooking by reducing some wine on another hob.
Once that’s done add equal parts milk and cream, and some stock as well. Ideally you’re meant to use a complicated 4 hour pressure cooker stock that’s also been used to simmer the pre-brined and rinsed chicken for 5 hours. But we’re just using some leftover stock we saved from when we cooked the ham. Don’t stress, it’s leftovers. The hard work of Christmas is all behind you.
Simmer this for a bit to remove the raw dairy flavours, then sprinkle over your agar powder.
If you ever saw our report on Heston’s flourless mustard sauce recipe from Masterchef Australia then you’ll know that in the past this part of the recipe hasn’t worked for us. During our Hot and Iced Mulled Wine recipe testing we think we figured out why.
You see the agar clumping on the surface of the pan? Well, it’ll need thorough whisking to break up all those little clumps. Agar clumps that aren’t broken up will be prone to re-setting again, turning your cooked sauce back into a solid block of jelly. Also, we looked this up and the melting point of agar is 85 degrees. Gentle simmering might not get the sauce up to that temperature, meaning the agar won’t be “activated”.
In short: whisk your agar into the sauce thoroughly and keep heating until it’s bubbling. Use a temperature probe if you have to.
Once all that’s done pour it into a container and set it.
Once the sauce is set (about an hour, go watch a box set or play Super Mario World on a vintage SNES like we did) you’ll need to blitz it to bits using a stick blender. This’ll take a bit more blending than you’d expect so really get stuck in. We’d recommend that you imagine its the faces of those thieving incompetent pricks from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Leigh who tried to rip you off on Christmas Eve and churn this sauce to a goddamned pulp.
Of course, at this stage we ought to advise you to push the blended mixture through a sieve to ensure there are no unpleasant lumps. But you know what, Christmas is over, we’re meant to be relaxing so just this once let’s skip that part, eh.
Step 3: Pie Filling
Remember those leeks, the slimy and congealed ones in that wok on the back hob? Well, throw them into your blended sauce along with some Dijon and wholegrain mustard (lots of the latter, please) and some seasoning.
Using salty ham stock we expected it wouldn’t need much salt, but it does. Plenty pepper, too. Oh, and some parley and tarragon. Our tarragon was dried, so what, Christmas is over it’s time to take it easy in the kitchen.
That done stir in your diced leftover meats and churn the stuff about until it’s all well mixed. Now dollop it into your pie dish or whatever.
Step 4: Pastry and Baking
Since we seem to have filled our biggest cake batter bowl 2/3 full we decided we better freeze some of this. 2 portions for now and 4 in the freezer. All in dinky foil food saver trays. Who needs Waitrose ready meals.
We’ve added puff pastry and egg wash to all of them. They just need 20 minutes in the oven now, or enough time to get he pastry crisp and golden.
Congratulations! You’ve just made Heston’s Chicken or Turkey and Ham Pie Christmas Leftovers recipe with Flourless Mustard Sauce from Masterchef Australia.
This Heston Blumenthal recipe is actually a magnificent take on the traditional chicken (or turkey) and ham pie.
Beyond waiting for the agar to set it isn’t all that time consuming, and provided you do use those Christmas leftovers it’s incredibly easy to make. We’ve served it here in the company of some foil-baked carrots and Felicity Cloake’s recipe for braised red cabbage.
Some of our sauce seemed to have disappeared when we lifted the pastry, so we worried summat had gone awry and we’d be left with a dry pie. Nothing of the sort! All the meats were still succulent and delicious.
We can’t claim you’ll think it’s worth the effort if you decide to make Heston Blumenthal’s Chicken and Ham Pie recipe from scratch. But, as a classic and traditional leftover dish, we think it’s pretty hard to beat.
- We made twice the amount of sauce. If you have a lot of meat then you should too.
- This freezes but not perfectly, our leeks went a bit watery when cooking from frozen
- Since this is a leftovers dish we reckon anything could work. You could put shredded sprouts in there
- Do NOT put vinegar on pies, that is something only weirdos and perverts would do
Eat Cook Code – very detailed report on making the recipe with lots of great pictures. They don’t take shortcuts like we did, this is the real deal. And they got to have mushrooms in theirs, which we missed out on!