Monday, 11 February 2013

Winter Warmer: Chicken Pie

I'm not a big fan of heavy winter food- thick casseroles and stews are simply not my thing. Neither are pies, or so I thought. One of my very good friends taught me to make this chicken pie and I have to say, it's one of the best I've ever tasted! It's also super simple to make and the cosiest of winter comfort food.

So what do you need?
a large leek
one red onion
two handfuls of mushrooms
one garlic segment
cream (soft) cheese
a couple of chunks of butter

pre-made puff pastry
salt and pepper

Firstly start by chopping up all your ingredients. 

Then, 'steam fry' your leeks. This is when you put a couple of inches of water in a pan, stick your leeks in with a pinch of salt and bung a lid on. You let the water boil, but you're aiming to cook the leeks mostly by the trapped steam. This means that by the time the leeks are cooked through, most the water is boiled off and you're left with the yummy goodness that seeps out of the veg when it's boiled. 

I use my multi-purpose-amazing-student pan (I think it was 15quid from Asda and was definitely a solid investment) - it's almost wok like and I use it for everything! The only problem is I don't have a lid big enough so I end up using our pizza oven tray...

While you're doing this, start to caramelise your onions. You do this by popping a blob of butter in a pan and then frying your onions in it on a low heat. Make sure you give them a stir every now and then so they don't burn! When they look cooked, just put them in the same pan as your cooked leeks. (Turn the heat off for now- don't worry about your ingredients going cold!)

Next, cook your mushrooms in some butter until they've soaked up most of it. Then throw them in the pan with the leeks and onions.  

Now it's time to cook the chicken. Put a dab of oil on the bottom of your pan and when it's nice and hot, add your chopped garlic. When this is starting to brown, add your slices of chicken. Wait for it to be cooked through and then add it to the rest of the ingredients.

You should be left with a pan filled with the leeks, onions, chicken and mushrooms. Put this on a low heat and add your cream cheese (I normally use in excess- half the packet should do however), another pinch of salt and a hearty twist of pepper. Give all the ingredients a good mix so they're nicely incorporated- the mixture should look thick and creamy. If you think it looks a little dense, add a small splash of water. Hopefully it should already be quite moist from the excess leek water! 

(Nearly done!) Lastly, put everything in a pie dish and cover with a thin sheet of puff pastry. Simply shove it in the oven for as long as the pastry needs (the packet should tell you). Mine normally takes no longer than 15mins on about 180 degrees. 

Eat hot and enjoy! 

P.S. I tend to freeze most things in portions since I'm normally only cooking for one and don't want to eat the same thing every night for a week. I've found this does freeze fine, but the pastry can go a little on the soggy side.

P.P.S Feel free to add different portions of veg- I've just told you what I put in mine, but you may like more onion, less mushroom and to throw in some carrots- make this your own! 

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