Newfie-style Turkey Pie
Happy New Year!
The holidays were a bit of a whirlwind for me. My 1.5 year old learned about, and quickly mastered the art of, opening presents. I fed eight family members and one Taiwanese co-worker on Christmas Day. I worked right up until Christmas Eve because, in the food industry, Christmas is always the busiest, most wonderful time of the year (also, I just love making cranberry sauce – can you blame me?!). Oh, and I didn’t wrap anything until the very last minute (egg nog in hand, House of Cards playing on Netflix).
I used to feel indifferent about Christmas in Ireland. I wasn’t into most Irish traditions because they felt foreign to me. This year, it felt different. Maybe it’s because I have a kid and these Irish traditions will be hers, or maybe I’m just feeling more at home in Ireland. It could also be the fact that I haven’t been home to Nova Scotia for Christmas in nearly five years. It doesn’t matter. The point is, I was looking forward to it this year, and it was a wonderful holiday.
Christmas Eve was all about having drinks, playing games and being with family. Christmas Day was all. about. the. turkey.
And it was a really good turkey.
I could go on about the fact that it was brined to perfection, or stuffed with herbs and lemons & basted in butter, but that would only be half the story.
In reality, a mere week before Christmas I was
freaking out worried about where I’d get my turkey. It was crunch time and after a very long online search for the perfect, free-range bronze turkey I was still unsure about what to do. It’s hard buying something online when you have no idea what it will look like when it arrives at your door.
I was just about to click “send” and hope for the best, when Imen McDonnell of the acclaimed Irish blog Farmette sent out a random tweet. She was wondering if anyone wanted one of her turkeys for Christmas, as she just had them butchered and had two left to sell. This solved my problem.
Having read about these turkeys on her blog, I knew she loved them, that they had a good life and that they were definitely the size she said they were. I asked her to save one for me, sent Patrick to collect the bird from her a few days later and that was it.
The verdict on Christmas Day? It was the best turkey any of us had ever had.
Imen, I think the love and effort you put into raising your little fellas made the ultimate difference. Thanks for letting me take one of your precious flock.
I still have leftover turkey in my freezer from our Christmas feast, and more of this pie is in its future. While Patrick, Maeve and I were in St. John’s this past summer, someone (aka the wonderful Stephen Lee from Mallard Cottage) told us we should go to Fabulous Foods for our lunch. It’s kind of a takeaway/deli on Merrymeeting Road (well off the trodden path) and is a favourite local haunt – mostly because of their addictive turkey pie and generous servings of fries, dressing & gravy (real Newfoundland food).
Months after being there I still daydream about this pie – the flaky crust, moist (but not soupy) filling, the fact that you can eat it with or without utensils. We were with my best bud from university & her partner. We took our pies to a local park and ate while Maeve crawled around. It was a great day to begin with, but the pie made it better (how many times have I ended a sentence with that?).
This recipe is just me having go at re-creating the pie. It’s a pretty decent effort, but I haven’t had any Newfies around to taste-test so can’t be sure. The pies at Fabulous Foods are smaller as they’re meant to be an entire portion, while this one feeds 8-10 people.
Newfie-style Turkey Pie
1 recipe shortcrust pie dough (use butter!)
2 cups cooked, shredded turkey
2 cups cold stuffing (yup, the stuffing from Christmas dinner!), roughly chopped
2 cups gravy (again, I used leftover gravy from Christmas dinner)
Handful or fresh sage, finely chopped OR 2 tsp dried savory
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp butter
Sea salt & pepper, to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
- Make your pie dough, divide in half & chill for 30 minutes.
- While the dough chills, melt the butter in a big pan. Add the shredded turkey, stuffing, sage or savory & gravy. Cook slowly until everything comes together to a simmer. Take off the heat. Season to taste.
- Add the frozen peas to the mix and toss. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees (200 degrees Celsius, no fan).
- Roll out one half of the pie dough. Use it to line the bottom of a large pie pan.
- Add the turkey filling to the pie pan (don’t worry if it looks like it’s too much).
- Roll out the other half of the pie dough and place over the top of the pie pan. Lightly press the edges of the pie dough together, trim the excess dough (leaving about 1/2 inch of overhang), fold the edges inwards and flute or press down with a fork. Cut a few slits in the top of the pie so steam will be able to escape.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the pie with the beaten egg.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. Serve with mashed potato (and, if your chives are growing in January like mine are, add some to the mash).
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season!