COOKING WITH THE CHARLES: Perfect pie - where any filling works

Jean's leftovers pie
Jean's leftovers pie

For this week’s recipe, Jean has taken the front seat. This is a real fridge clear out. And crowd pleaser!

So the ingredients listed are more of a guide then a strict set. If you are in a rush just use shop-bought shortcrust.

The perfect pie, and you can put any filling you like in it

The perfect pie, and you can put any filling you like in it

Jean’s leftovers pie

Serves 4 (fits a 22cm pie dish)

Pastry ingredients

○ 225g plain flour

The Charles family

The Charles family

○ 100g cold diced butter

○ 50g grated cheddar

○ Pinch salt

○ Pinch mustard powder

Pie filling

○ 300g of leftover veg (could be carrots, celery, peas, sweetcorn, sprouts, mushrooms, leeks or green beans)

○ 800g of meat (could be ham, turkey, chicken or bacon)

○ 125g butter

○ 115g plain flour

○ 500ml stock (chicken or veg)

○ 600ml double cream

○ 2 heaped tbsp wholegrain mustard


1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Stir in the salt and mustard powder then add 2-3 tbsp water and mix to a firm dough.

Knead the dough briefly on a floured surface adding the cheese at intervals. Roll out to a pound coin’s width and put into a greased pie dish, saving enough for a lid. Put in the fridge to chill while you sort the filling.

3. For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook gently for 2–3 minutes. Gradually stir in the hot stock, and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Simmer for a few minutes, pour in the cream and bring back to the boil. Simmer for a few minutes longer, until you have a smooth sauce. Stir in the mustard, then taste and season as necessary. 

4. Roughly shred the meat and put it in your chilled pie dish with the vegetables, pour over the sauce and mix well.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 180C and pop the lid on the pie and crimp the edges. Brush the pie with a beaten egg, sprinkle with black pepper and make a few slits on top to help release steam.

6. Cook for about 40 minutes until golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

7. Serve with mash and cabbage.