Holy Land Turkey Pie

There is always the problem of how to use up leftover turkey. Made with spices, olives and honey, all of which are common in the Holy Land, this pie is thoroughly appropriate for the Christmas season. It can be made in advance up to the uncooked pastry stage, or cooked and kept warm for at least an hour. Serve with a green salad.


  • 675 g/ lb tomatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 900-1 kg/2-2½ lb skinless boneless cooked turkey
  • 75 g/3 oz stoned black olives
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 90 g/¾ oz butter
  • 2 rounded teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 rounded teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 level teaspoons cumin seeds
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 dessertspoon honey
  • 450 g/1 lb filo pastry
  • salt
  • black pepper


Put the tomatoes into a bowl, pour boiling water over them and leave for a minute or two, then drain, peel and cut up roughly. Peel the onions, cut in half and then slice them thinly across. Cut the turkey meat into smallish pieces. Chop the olives roughly. Peel the garlic and chop finely.

Put the oil and 15 g/½ oz of the butter into a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat, add the sliced onions and stir around until completely soft and browned. Then add the garlic and spices and stir around for a minute or two. Next stir in the chopped tomatoes, lemon rind and juice and the olives and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes have become a thick mush. Remove the pan from the heat and season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper. Stir in the honey until dissolved, then transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Mix the turkey meat into the thick tomato sauce and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Gently melt the remaining butter in a saucepan. Brush a deep 17.5-18.5cm/7-7½in loose-based cake tin thinly with butter. Lay a sheet of filo pastry in the tin so that it comes up and over the sides. Brush the pastry thinly with butter and lay another sheet across the other way so the whole tin is lined. Continue like this in layers, buttering each sheet and letting the pastry hang out all round the edge of the tin. Then spoon in the cold turkey and tomato mixture and bring in the overlapping pastry, sheet by sheet loosely over the top, lightly buttering each piece. The top 2 or 3 layers should be especially crumpled.

Cook the pie on the centre shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes, until the top is well browned. Then put the tin on a narrower round object and push the pie carefully up and out of the sides. Using a wide spatula, lever the pie carefully off the base on to an ovenproof serving plate and put back in the oven for 20-30 minutes.