Last week’s Lucy’s list meal plan featured a proper Sunday roast. Chicken with all the trimmings. Now it’s Monday and we’re back on the school run, back to work, back to housework, back to busy. I always buy a slightly bigger meat joint (not only chicken) precisely so that we have leftovers. It’s far cheaper to buy a whole chicken than packets of pre-butchered breast fillets or leg portions. A large chicken is easily enough to feed us (two adults, a child and a toddler) with loads leftover for another meal, provided they don’t become sandwiches at teatime and assuming they survive my husband’s late night fridge raid, for which I always make him suffer.
So the roast was eaten and I made The Husband do the dishes. Happy days. I had a packet of puff pastry (no one ever makes their own, do they?!) in the fridge ready for an easy Monday night pie. I also had some posh peas and parmentier spuds left from Saturday’s dinner. They all get chucked into the pie. And that’s the beauty of it! Whatever weird odds and ends you’ve got lurking in the fridge that you might otherwise have binned, can be cobbled together and reinvented as a whole new dish. Think of it as the Madonna of pies!
Clearly, it’s a genius idea coz Jamie Oliver has featured the exact same thing in his latest book. He totally stole it from me, of course. I had this blog post planned three weeks ago. Gah! Pesky telly chefs! I did “borrow” one teeny weeny tip from him though; the lemon that I always put inside the roasting bird, was saved and the insides were scooped into the pie mix. It gives it all a bit of a lift and freshens it up.
I use a tin of soup as the base for the gravy. I know! Scandalous! I could’ve saved the chicken carcass and made stock. I could’ve made that stock into gravy. Yeah, I could have done that. If it wasn’t Monday night and I wasn’t totally knackered. So I cheated. So there. What of it?
Leftover chicken (preferably dark meat but anything will do)
Leftover potatoes and peas
Any other leftover veg 2 carrots, roughly diced
Handful of mushrooms, quartered
Tin of mushroom soup
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
Packet of ready-rolled puff pastry
1 beaten egg (for brushing on top)
Get your packet of pastry out of the fridge first and stick the oven on to pre-heat. Fry off your raw vegetables in a little oil with the garlic. I used carrots and mushrooms. Usually I’d use onion too but my posh peas already contain onion and celery.
While they are softening, pull your cooked chicken off the bone so it’s nicely shredded into bite-sized pieces.
Add this to the pan and thoroughly heat through. Add all your other leftovers – spuds, veggies, lemon – and the dried thyme.
When everything is sizzling, pour over your liquid whatever it might be, in this case mushroom soup. Leave it to simmer for a few minutes. Check the seasoning. The bonus of this dish is that most of the ingredients are already flavoured from the previous meal!
While this is heating through, unroll your pastry. If it’s too small for your pie dish, roll it out a little more on a floured surface.
Tip your pie filling into the dish.
The easiest way to get your pastry from the worktop to your dish is by rolling it onto your rolling pin, then rolling it off onto the dish.
Now, look. I’m not a professional. It’s not a pretty pie. Just do whatever you need to do to get the edges to stick down. I sort of scrunchy twisty pinched them (that’s the technical term, obviously). I lightly scored the top. Then I cut off the excess and used it to make extremely amateur leaves before giving it an egg wash. Ta da!
Stick it in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until it’s all crispy and brown.
And that’s it. An easy way to make an extra meal from bits and bobs. Thrifty, tasty and less waste.
NB This pie cannot be re-heated again but is pretty good cold.