This is a super-easy, old-school dish that uses leftover turkey or chicken in a brilliant way. As a kid I made it with dumplings, but when I was in the USA they would top stews with these lovely biscuits, so this is my hybrid of the two.
Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling
– 2 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
– 2 small leeks
– olive oil
– 125g plain flour
– 25g maize flour or polenta
– 1½ teaspoons baking powder
– ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
– 30g unsalted butter (cold)
– 125ml buttermilk
– 1 large free-range egg
– 3 onions
– 3 sticks of celery
– 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
– 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
– 3 fresh bay leaves
– 2 teaspoons English mustard
– 2 tablespoons plain flour
– 1.5 litres organic veg stock
– 150g leftover stuffing
– 500g leftover cooked higher-welfare turkey or chicken meat
1. To start the dumplings, roughly chop the bacon and place in a large frying pan on a medium-low heat to crisp up while you wash, trim and finely slice the leeks. Stir them into the pan with 1 tablespoon of oil, then cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and sweet, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
2. Meanwhile, for the stew, peel the onions, trim the celery, then roughly chop both and place in a large, wide casserole pan on a medium heat with 2 tablespoons of oil (or even better, use turkey dripping to intensify the flavours). Add the herb sprigs and bay, and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft but not coloured, stirring regularly. Stir in the mustard and flour for 2 minutes, then gradually stir in the stock to make a nice thick sauce. Crumble in the leftover stuffing and turn the heat off. Scoop out and discard the herb sprigs and bay leaves, then shred the turkey or chicken meat, stir it into your stew, taste, and season to perfection.
3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Place the flours, baking powder and bicarb in a large bowl. Dice and add the butter, then use your thumbs and forefingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the middle, pour in the buttermilk, then gradually mix into the crumbs, bringing them in from the outside. Stir in the cooled leeks and bacon until just combined, but don’t overwork it – we want the dough as light as possible. Gently roll it out on a clean flour-dusted surface until 2cm thick, then use a 5cm fluted cutter to stamp out as many round dumplings as you can, re-rolling and using up any offcuts – you should get at least 12 from this amount.
4. Brush the dumplings with beaten egg, then sit them on top of the stew. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the dumplings are risen and golden and the stew is blipping and bubbling away nicely. Delicious with simple steamed greens.
This epic book is the ultimate Christmas companion. It’s the culmination of 17 years’ work on Jamie’s part, fine-tuning incredible festive recipes, that you know will work for you at home, every single time. There’s a few of Jamie’s old favourites over the years, as well as loads of brand new exciting ideas to tickle your taste buds – with Jamie at your side, it’s set to be a super-scrumptious Christmas.
Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook by Jamie Oliver is published by Penguin Random House
ⓒ Jamie Oliver Enterprises Limited (2016 Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook). Photographer: David Loftus.