Generally roasting a bit of meat is the east bit of cooking for me. You just need to make sure the oven is at the right temperature and any herbs, spices, liquids or fillings have been added added to the meat before cooking it and allowing it to rest for a while before serving.
Finding something interesting to do with the leftovers that allows the roast flavours to still come through whilst also ensuring it does not go dry and rubbery is much more of a challenge but with a bit of consideration, love and time it is possible.
One of the last roasts we (I say we like me and my partner did it as a collaborative effort and it was not just me cooking away) did involved a pretty hefty piece of pork that created enough leftovers for several different meals. To also ensure that some of the vegetables and potatoes, that were getting close to the end, were used up it seemed sensible to do a pie with the only thing in this meal not specifically leftover and needing using up being the puff pastry bought specifically (c’mon who has time to make their own puff pastry).
I took a lot of inspiration from a Delicious Magazine recipe but did make a couple of changes and would make some more adaptations if attempting this recipe again in the future as whilst it was good there were a couple of things that stopped it being truly fantastic.
Okay, firstly this is an issue with me cooking a lot but not actually having much knowledge with skills and technicalities, figuring out “The leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs” is a lot more difficult that you might imagine. Like you cannot just brush your hand along it is a backwards moment and they will all fall off, as I foolishly assumed, as they are pretty secure and instead you need to have a battle around with them a little to get the required amount. Give yourself time to do this.
Secondly, Whilst this certainly has enough liquid for the pie contents itself I am always torn because putting a gravy with a dish that has a saucy element feels wrong and I can rarely bring myself to do it. This means that all of a sudden the pie goes from an adequate amount of liquid to not enough to be able to put some onto/with the vegetables or mash potato and you have to eat those speedily to ensure they stay at least semi-warm (again this is probably because we should microwave our plates or something before serving and I hate eating cold food if it is meant to be warm). I would recommend increasingly the amount of liquid slightly in equal ratios.
Thirdly, there is an issue with the above and it is something I had already noticed in the one I made with current quantities of liquid; you need a massive dish to stop the pastry from coming into contact with the liquid. We had the issue that the pie could either be long, flat and just about having the contents cover the dish or going for a deeper pie where the liquid came slightly higher up and nearer to the pastry. Obviously putting the pastry onto anything means that unless you happen to balance it on there really well the middle bit will be a touch saggy and if you go for a deeper pie there is the risk of the pastry hitting the liquid. Essentially make sure you have a dish that allows for a thick layer of contents but still keeps enough room for the pastry to droop and expand without risk.
Finally, do not be afraid to go to town with “zest of 1 lemon” as it really seems to get lost in the creamy mushroom sauce flavours and the pie really appreciates that extra boost of freshness and tang against the remains of the roasted pork.
You can of course use fresh pork for this recipe as well but I really think that using leftover roast pork added an extra level of flavour to the dish and because it is getting cooked in liquid it does not at all go dry or chewy and instead manages to soak all those flavours up.
An enjoyable dish that does not involve as much effort as “pie” often suggests to people and it really is a great way to use up some of those leftover items in your kitchen after a roast and week of eating is complete.