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)
A handful of lentils, (I used puy, but any would do)
A handful of spinach
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.