Saturday, 12 March 2011

Chicken pie and exhaustion.

It's been a mad week. I am completely wiped out. I made leftover chicken pie on Thursday night and I've only just got around to writing about it. My apologies, oh imaginary audience.

Leftover chicken may possibly be nicer than roast chicken. The cold, leftover meat is always delicious, it always seems to be even juicier and more flavoursome than the first time around!

One of my favourite ways to use up leftover chicken is to make a pie. It feels like such a wholesome thing to do and it's always so satisfying. The recipe below is inspired by Jamie Oliver's leftover turkey pie: as seen here. I've adapted the recipe though, bulking it out with lentils and removing the bacon element, which I felt added too much expense to the proceedings.

As Jamie says, if you've got enough time to make puff pastry from scratch, you really need to get a job. Even though it's fairly expensive, (£1.79 in it's ready to roll form), I really feel that it's worth it for this meal. You could easily make this pie with a mashed potato topping if you wanted to save money though.

Lovely chicken pie.

Leftover chicken, (about a cupful if possible, or as much as you have)
Two leeks
One onion
A handful of lentils, (I used puy, but any would do)
A handful of spinach
Leftover gravy
1pt chicken stock
A glug of white wine, (if possible)
1pkt ready to roll puff pastry
About a tablespoonful of double cream
An egg, to glaze the pastry, (or milk if you like)

Slice the onion and the leeks and pop them into a pan with a lid. Make sure it's nice and hot, and that there's a glug of olive oil in there. One they're sizzling nicely and starting to soften, add a tiny bit of water and put the lid on, turning the heat down to low. Give them half an hour, until they're soft and squashy looking. Tip your leftover chicken in there too.

Add a handful of lentils and a tablespoon of flour and give everything a couple of minutes to cook together. Keep stirring so that it doesn't stick. Chuck in the wine and allow the alcohol to cook off, then add the leftover gravy and the chicken stock. Keep stirring, bring it to the boil, then turn the heat down and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes.

Throw the cream and the spinach in there and stir until the spinach has wilted and the cream is nicely incorporated into the sauce. Taste for seasonings and add as much salt and pepper as you think the dish needs. 

Now for the magic part. Sieve the mixture, keeping the strained liquid aside, (do it over a jug or something). This liquid is your gravy to serve with the pie. Doing this means that the pie filling is thick and dense and delicious, and that you have a tasty gravy to moisten your potatoes with!

Put your pie filling into a rough, thick pile in the middle of a roasting tray, I like to grate some extra black pepper over at this point. Unroll your puff pastry and lay it over the filling, tucking the edges under, making a couple of scores over the top to let the steam out. Beat your egg in a cup and brush it over the top of the pie, or just brush the milk over if that's what your using. 

Your dinner's nearly ready! Just pop it in the oven for about 40 minutes.

I love cooking meals like this, I feel so frugal and wholesome. This dish costs very little to cook, I estimate about £4.23. The pie did two teas for us though so that's £2.11 per meal. Bargain. Especially for something as gorgeous as this:

And with that, dear reader, I leave you. Until next time.


  1. Hi Jen, I do this one too with the leftover chicken. After a roast dinner I chuck all the bones and veg scraps along with the usual bits (onion, bay leaf, carrots etc) into my slow cooker with a load of water, then leave on overnight to make stock. In the morning I just reduce it down on the hob before work and chuck it in the fridge. Ref getting my OH eating less meat...well generally I don't, I have ended up just buying cheaper cuts like shin of beef to make stew (his fav) My only success in rducing meat is to make a pizza with tuna and prawns!

  2. Hi! Thanks for coming back to read me again :)
    I'll be posting a recipe using the stock that I made with this chicken in the next few days, (I did it last week and froze it). I'm thinking I'll use it to make a chinese style chicken noodle soup on Thursday.
    So is your OH quite happy to eat fish and so on? For mine it's just that he wants protein, and the only sources of protein that he believes in are meat and fish...So I'm loving this seafood pizza idea! Do you make your own base as well?
    Stew is something we can always rely on, they're easy to bulk out with lentils and veg too!
    (Little tip - Sainsbury's are doing a mix and match on meat products, 3 for £10. I've got a shoulder of pork, a whole chicken and a packet of mince...pretty happy with that!)