what to do with your christmas leftovers

In collaboration with Bloom In Doom Magazine

Would it surprise you to hear that some of the most wasted Christmas foods are actually potatoes and vegetables? According to Good To Knows 2019 article ‘ The 10 most wasted Christmas foods and how to use them’, 9 million carrots, 11.3 million potatoes, 10.9 million parsnips, and 9.8 million cups of gravy are thrown away at Christmastime. In all, this adds up to approximately 4.2 million Christmas dinners. That’s roughly one Christmas dinner for every person in New Zealand. As covered in our Sustainability Series article on Food, food waste sent to landfill produces huge amounts of harmful gases, such as methane, which are all released into the Earth’s atmosphere. This, as a result, is a leading contributor to global warming.

So, what can we do to reduce our food waste over the holidays?

Today, I am sharing with you possibly the simplest way to use up your Christmas leftovers, and all you’re going to need is a roll of pastry. Over the years, I’ve played around a lot with different ways of using up my Christmas dinner leftovers, but this year we’re making a winter classic – pie. Pies are a winter staple in my house, and this Christmas Leftovers Pie is the easiest solution to reducing your food waste this holiday season.

In this pie, I’m using a mixture of my typical Christmas dinner leftovers: mashed turnips, steamed carrots and kale, roasted parsnips, roasted potatoes, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry sauce, and vegetable gravy. These foods are what we usually have going spare after Christmas dinner, excluding all of the non-vegan products that other members of my family consume. You can use whatever leftovers you may have when you make this pie, it really is as simple and versatile as you can make it.

The only ingredients that you’re definitely going to need are gravy and short crust or puff pastry. For this recipe, I simply purchased some short crust pastry from the supermarket, because I know that when those days straight after Christmas come around, I’m not going to have the time to make a fresh batch of pastry dough myself.

To make this pie, I grabbed myself a large pie dish and preheated my oven to 180°C. Into the bottom of the pie dish, I added the mashed turnips. I’ve tried this recipe a few times now, and I fully recommend adding a soft/spreadable base layer first – this could be mashed potatoes, mashed vegetables, even something like bread sauce, etc. You want something that’s going to coat the entire base of the dish, to hold in all of the gravy and create a nice thick sauce.

Next, you’re going to want to add some larger foods. I added my leftover veggies here (steamed carrots and kale) to add a splash of colour. It’s not essential, but the pie sure does look a lot prettier when you try to create different layers throughout the filling. After this, I piled on my leftover roasted parsnips and potatoes (not without sampling a couple of them first, of course…). I also recommend that you vary the different textures in your pie. Instead of adding, for example, all boiled or steamed vegetables, add in some roasted foods too. That way it really feels like you’re enjoying another Christmas dinner, even though its leftovers.

In olden times, pies contained something called forcemeat, used when meat was not available or not enough, and would be placed directly underneath the crust of the pie. In this recipe, instead of forcemeat, I’m using leftover sage and onion stuffing to create another layer to the pie, and another depth of flavour. Adding stuffing to your pie creates a richer flavour and I’ve found that its much more satiating. On top of the potatoes, I spooned on stuffing and leftover cranberry sauce to cut through all those heavy flavours.

The final step to making the filling is the gravy. In this recipe, we’re not really making a sauce, as such, but rather using leftover gravy to create a sauce on its own. Pour over your gravy (I used vegetable gravy) into the pie dish until its just level with the top of your filling. You don’t want the gravy to cover the filling too much, otherwise you’ll end up with a really soggy bottom to your pastry.

The last thing you need to do now is grab your pastry and (if not already rolled) roll it out until its 1/2 cm thick. Wet the edges of the pie dish and lay the pastry over the top before trimming the excess pastry off of the edges and crimping it so that it sticks to the dish. As photographed, you can see that I also added some decorative pastry holly leaves and berries. You could do something similar if you wanted, and I find it really adds an extra level of detail to the pie. Brush your pastry with a little plant milk before baking in the oven for 50 minutes.

You should end up with a lovely golden brown pastry on the top, and all of the flavours of Christmas in the filling. I’ve made this pie a few times now, and it really is a hit. It’s such a quick and easy way to use up the majority of your Christmas leftovers too. Serve this up on Boxing Day or the days leading up to the New Year for a festive and simple dinner for the whole family.

Well, there you have it folks! The simplest way to reduce your holiday food waste – Christmas Leftovers Pie. I hope this recipe gives you the inspiration to try and reduce as much food waste as possible this holiday season and I can’t wait to see all of your Christmas leftover pies too! If you make this recipe, make sure you leave a like and a comment down below! I absolutely love hearing from you guys and you can be sure that I will try my best to get back to you soon! And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @amongsttheflour I love seeing the photos of recipes you’ve all made! Have a joyous and merry winter and a very happy holidays! I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Katherine x

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Christmas Leftovers Pie

You will need:

  • Your choice of christmas leftovers
  • Gravy
  • Short crust or puff pastry

For this recipe, there really isn’t a specific set of ingredients. All you’re going to need are some Christmas leftovers, gravy, and some short crust or puff pastry (I even suggest buying some pastry from the supermarket just to make this dish as simple as possible). In this recipe, I’m using:

  • mashed turnips
  • steamed carrots
  • steamed kale
  • roast parsnips
  • roast potatoes
  • sage and onion stuffing
  • cranberry sauce
  • vegetable gravy
  • short crust pastry

Method

  1. Gather together your christmas leftovers and grab yourself a large ceramic pie dish. If you’re using store bought pastry, make sure you leave it to come to room temperature for 30 minutes or so before using it. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Into the bottom of your pie dish, add your first choice of leftovers. I suggest using a mashed vegetable or thick sauce e.g. bread sauce for the bottom layer, to hold all of the gravy in the middle of the pie and prevent it all from sinking to the bottom.
  3. Add in your next layer of leftovers on top of this. I added carrots and kale next in order to vary the colour of the layers in the pie. Keep adding your leftovers until you’ve reached the top of the pie dish. After the carrots, I added the roasted vegetables – parsnips and potatoes.
  4. Onto the top of the pie, spoon on leftover stuffing and cranberry sauce (or similar) and then pour the gravy into all the cracks and crevices in order to create a sauce. Pat down the fillings until they lie smoothly on the top.
  5. Roll out your pastry until it is ½ cm thick. Run some water around the rim of the pie dish to help the pastry to stick. Place the pastry over the top of the pie dish. Trim the edges of the pastry to fit to the edge of the pie dish. Seal the edges of the pie to the dish using a fork and pierce the middle of the pastry to prevent it from ballooning.
  6. Brush the pastry with some plant milk before placing in the oven and baking for 50 minutes until hot through and golden brown on the top. Once cooked, remove from the oven, and leave to stand for 5 minutes before slicing into portions of 4-6 (depending on how hungry you are). Enjoy!

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