It’s toe curlingly cold outside, the nights are still long and dark, and post-Christmas break we’re all missing the comfort of home-cooked food. So why not warm the house this Sunday, round up the house mates, and get together to cook up a truly nostalgic taste of home. We all love a good pie, and this recipe is failsafe for even the most novice of cooks, as well as being easy on the bank balance.
- 1 small chicken
- 1 large onion
- 100g bacon lardons
- 1 tablespoon of flour
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 200g mushrooms or frozen peas
- Salt and black pepper
- 250g frozen puff pastry
1.Roast a whole chicken on a medium heat in the oven for the time stated on the packaging. ( A small Tesco-value bird will do, and if you chose something a little larger there’s always uses for the left over meat!)
2.Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Pour off any juices from the chicken and keep to one side. Once the chicken is cold, strip the carcass of meat with a very sharp knife.
3.In a large pan fry the onion and bacon lardons on a medium heat for around 5 minutes until the onions start to brown. Then cover the onions and bacon with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix well with a wooden spoon.
4.Once the flour has coated the ingredients in the pan, gradually add half a pint of chicken stock. Let the pan come to a simmer and the mixture should start to thicken, this will take about 5 minutes. You can also add any juices left over from the chicken pan for a really rich filling.
5.At this stage you can add any extras you want in the pie along with the cooked chicken meat, I quite like adding mushrooms or frozen peas. Also sprinkle in a good helping of black pepper and salt.
6.After a good stir, transfer the pie filling into a deep oven-proof dish.
7.Cover one of your kitchen work tops with a light dusting of flour and role out the defrosted pastry into the shape of your pie dish, and to the thickness on a pound coin. (If you don’t have a rolling pin, a wine bottle will work just as well.) Don’t forget to flour your rolling implement as well as the surface.
8.Top the pie filling with the rolled pastry and make sure to cut a small hole in the top of the pastry to let the steam out.
9.Cook the pie in a medium heat oven for around 30 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp. Serve with all your favourite Sunday roast trimmings.
Left over chicken leaving you stumped? We’ve got some simple supper ideas to save time and waste
Hit a bit of chef’s block when trying to use up the remainder of the roasted chicken? The possibilities are literally endless with the combination of flavours and fantastic dishes you can throw together with a bit of cooked chicken. You’ve done the hard work, the chicken is cooked to an edible standard (hopefully), now it’s just time to jazz it up a little.
Why not cook up a load of couscous with a bit of paprika and chicken stock, mix in the cooked chicken with a few peppers, tomatoes and a bit of lettuce and look at that, you’ve got a fancy Moroccan salad.
If the greens are a bit too healthy for the student in you, try popping the chicken in with some cooked pasta and tomato sauce in a baking tray, cover with cheese and bread crumbs and grill in the oven for 10 minutes. In no time at all (and honestly no real effort) there’ll be home made pasta bake on the table, who would of thought it ‘ey? Pasta bake doesn’t have to come out of the microwave in a plastic tray!
Another quick meal which is great for using up cooked meat, and the ideal way to keep us poor students warm this winter, is soup. Boil up some chicken stock with an onion, a few odd veggies lying around in the fridge and some noodles and just before you serve add the sliced chicken. Voila! Chicken noodle soup at probably half the price of the supermarket.