Make a Pie, a Soup and Oriental Fried Rice

The champagne bottles are empty, the gifts have been opened and it’s back to work for most of us. But when we get home at the end of each day, it’s as though the holidays have not ended because the fridge is still full of leftovers. There’s the ham, the carcass of the roast turkey or chicken, a bowl of sliced poultry meat. You may think they’re nothing but a huge mess inside the fridge but you can clean out your fridge without being wasteful by turning leftovers into great meals.

Place the duck, chicken, or turkey carcass (including the bones from the drumsticks, thighs, and wings if you still have them) in a large pot. Cover with cold water. Add whole onion, whole garlic, a bay leaf, and some peppercorns, and season with salt. Simmer for at least two hours. Strain the broth. Pick the meat from the bones. Peel a carrot and cut it into matchsticks. Finely mince about half a head of garlic. Get some greens and slice finely. If you served duck Chinese style with leeks, Chinese pancakes, and hoisin sauce over the holidays, you would have the green portions of the leeks still. You can use them or you can use onion leaves or cabbage. Slice the caps of about six shiitake mushrooms. Pour about four tablespoonfuls of oil into a large pot. Place a tablespoon of annatto (athlete) seeds in the oil and heat gently until the oil turns red. Scoop out the annatto seeds. Saute the garlic in the oil. Add the carrots, leeks, mushrooms, and meat. Pour in the broth. Add a bunch of unsoaked sotanghon. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

It’s traditional to serve roast duck, turkey, chicken, or ham by ceremoniously carving it on the dinner table. If you have leftover sliced meat, you can do more than place them between slices of bread. Make a pie. For a 9-inch pie, you will need about two cups of diced meat. Dice the leftover ham, turkey, duck, or chicken meat. Half-inch cubes are an ideal size. Peel two potatoes and a carrot. Cut into half-inch cubes as well. Core and remove the seeds and veins of three bell peppers and dice. Heat one-fourth cup of butter in a frying pan. Add the potatoes and carrot cubes and cook until lightly browned. Add the bell peppers and the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until everything is heated through. Disperse a tablespoonful of starch (tapioca or corn) in one-half cup of broth or water. Pour into the meat and vegetables and stir until thick and clear. Cool.

Make the crust. For a double-crust pie, you will need two cups of flour, one-half cup of chilled butter, one-half cup of lard, one-half teaspoonful of salt, and three tablespoonfuls of sugar. Start by cutting the butter and lard into very small pieces. Mix the flour, salt and sugar. Add the flour mixture to the butter and lard. Mix. Pour in three tablespoonfuls of ice-cold water and mix just until the dough starts to come together. Divide into two portions. Take one portion and roll to a one-fourth-inch thickness. Fit the rolled dough into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. To make the job easier, roll the dough between two sheets of non-stick kitchen paper. That way, you just have to peel off the top sheet, lift the dough by holding the bottom sheet then invert the dough onto the pie plate.

Pour the prepared filling into the dough-lined pie plate. Roll out the remaining half of the dough and use this to cover the pie. Cut the excess dough hanging on the sides. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together and tuck in to seal. Brush the crust with a beaten egg. Create steam vents by piercing the top crust in several spots with a fork.