I had a very quiet Christmas season, I spent a lot of time with my family which was lovely and read a lot of books and watched a lot of DVDs! I didn't get much of a chance to cook and as I now get a free school lunch I don't get to do as much cooking as I would like, but I still occasionally get to make some lovely meals. I am also hoping to start weight watchers when I return to school tomorrow as I have put on rather a lot of weight, largely due to these school lunches and my inability to have small portions! So I shall let you know how that goes and I shall share with you some of the healthy recipes that I cook along the way.
This is a fantastic way of using up your leftover turkey from Christmas or leftover chicken from a roast. It is a lovely creamy pie and I served it with broccoli and greens.
Chicken and Leek Pie (adapted from www.jamieoliver.com)
2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
½ bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
a large knob of butter
2kg leeks, washed, trimmed; white end chopped into chunks, green end finely sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
800g cooked chicken or turkey meat, torn into big chunks
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 pints turkey, chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons of crème fraîche
1 500g packet puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 190°C. Put your bacon in a large pan on a medium heat and add your thyme leaves. Add a lug of olive oil and the butter and let it all fry off a few minutes. Add all of the leeks and fry them off for about 3 minutes so they are well-coated in the butter. Add a pinch of salt and pepper then pop the lid on top, turn the heat down to medium and let them cook away gently for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure they don’t catch.
When your leeks are ready, add the chicken meat to them and stir. If you’ve got a bit of stuffing mixed in there you can put that in too. Add the flour, mix it in well then pour in your stock and stir again. Add the crème fraîche then turn the heat up and bring everything back up to the boil, then turn the heat off. Pour the mixture through a sieve over another large empty pan and let the wonderful gravy from the mixture drip into the pan while you roll out your pastry.
Get a deep baking dish roughly 22 x 30cm. Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with a bit of flour and roll your pastry out evenly so you have a rectangle big enough to cover your baking tray.
Spoon that leek mixture from your sieve into the pie dish and spread it out evenly. Lay your pastry on top, tuck the ends under then gently score the pastry diagonally with your knife. Add a pinch of salt to your beaten egg then paint this egg wash over the top of your pastry. Pop your pie in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown.
The gravy that you saved from the leek mixture can be served over the pie, or you can freeze it and it makes a lovely sauce for a chicken breast with some new potatoes.