More Brit Week: Chicken, Mushroom and Tarragon Pie

As a child, I remember leafing through my mother’s cook books, and there was always a recipe for a chicken pot pie.  It looked so good, warm and luscious.  But, as I said before, my family was a lot of things, but not British or American.  So, never in my life did I have a Chicken Pie until I made one myself.  The first few tries were laughable.  I was just out of my teens, was living on my own and attempting to cook.  Let’s just say the results were less than stellar.  And that is putting it lightly.  But, I never give up when I fail at something, so I tried and tried again and EUREKA!  By George, I got it!

A few weeks ago I was at a friends house, she was born here in Barcelona, but her family is from Argentina.  Her husband, however, was born in Yorkshire from American parents.  They had just come back from a trip to the UK, and they brought back this amazing book, I don’t remember what the name was, but it was all about pie’s.  Savoury pies, sweet pies, hand pies…..oh sweet Jesus!  I think I actually drooled on the book. ( I hope they didn’t notice.)  It got my wheels a working to make more pies at home.

I love tarragon, but it is sparsely used in recipes here, although it is always in the supermarket?  Huh.  So, for Brit Week I knew I was going to make a pie.  I originally thought cheese and onion, but since I did the Sunday roast with chicken, I had quite a bit left over.  And as I mentioned before, British cuisine really knows how to make do with all your left overs.

I made this pie yesterday.  And no, I did not make the puff pastry.  I usually do, but it is such a long and hard process, that honestly, it defeats the purpose of this easy, delicious and hearty meal.  I mean…..ok, you’re using up your chicken to make a great meal for your family, but you’re going to spend three hours making the dough?  No way.  Just get store-bought.  No one will know the difference, and unless you have made puff pastry a few times, it will more than likely not turn out.  It is one of the more difficult doughs to make.  If you want to make your own crust, be my guest.  But I was too tired.  And I had a glass of wine instead while it was baking.

Today my friend Julie from Liverpool came over, and she gave me the seal of approval.  We had crustless pie with the rest of the bubble and squeak.  And we had seconds.  It was that good.  I wish I had more.  But hey, next week I can make another pie!!!!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 6

55 g butter

1 onion, sliced

300 g mushrooms, quartered

salt and pepper to taste

2 garlic cloves, chopped

40 g plain flour

150 ml white wine

300 ml chicken stock

Left over chicken from 4 breasts

150 ml heavy cream

Freshly grated nutmeg

250 g puff pastry, store-bought

1 egg beaten

2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped  plus more for crust

In a sauté pan, melt your butter.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and raise the heat to high, add the salt and cook until nicely browned, about another 5 minutes.  If you feel that the veggies are too dry, add some oil or more butter.  Add the garlic and cook for another 3 minutes.

Now add your flour and lower the heat to low.  Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and stock, and raise the heat and bring to a boil.  When thickened, add your chicken, cream, tarragon and nutmeg.  Take off heat.

Pre-heat your oven according to package directions, but should generally be around 200-220 C.  Unroll the puff pastry, and press some of your reserved tarragon leaves into it.  Place the chicken mixture into a baking dish, and roll out the puff pastry, pressing into the edges to seal.  Cut off the excess, and if you’re feeling up to it, use the extra pieces to decorate the top a bit.  Baste it with the beaten egg.

Bake in your oven for about 15 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown, and it’s bubbling and you can’t take it anymore cause you’re going to stuff your face into it.  Sorry.  That’s what happens to me sometimes.  Food makes me crrrrrrazy.

Let it cool a bit before serving.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming! : Bubble and Squeak

Continuing with British Week, since it is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!  I love the practicality of British food.  It amazes me that from one lunch, as we had on Sunday, I have almost a week’s worth of food just from the left over’s!!!

Yesterday I made Bubble and Squeak.  This is a hearty, belly filling dish using up the rest of your mashed potatoes and vegetables from the roast.  On Sunday I made roast chicken, roast vegetables, mashed potato and yorkshire pudding.  The pud’s were the first to go.  But as always, I have chicken, mash and veggies left over.

Bubble and Squeak to the rescue!  All you have to do is mix your veggies with the mash, place it into a frying pan and form into a sort of juiced up hash-brown.  Basically the name of this dish is because of the sounds of the “potato patty” as it cooks, and since your veggies will let out a little water as they cook, the whole thing will bubble as well.

Since I didn’t put the chicken into it, because today I am making a Chicken, Mushroom and Tarragon Pie, I decided to fry up a couple of farm fresh eggs to go on top.  Then just, portion it up, place your fried egg on top, and heat up and pour on some of your leftover gravy….and you are good to go!

It’s so ridiculously easy, and tasty.  You can even do this with your Thanksgiving left overs, since the day after I am so keen on the leftovers, but then I kind of get tired of them.  I think this will be a great answer to not end up throwing them all away in despair (and utter disappointment, since I hate throwing away food).

Mind you, the picture isn’t great, just because it is sort of a lump on the plate covered with gravy and egg.  But trust me, your taste buds will thank you.  And it’s so darn quick to make, you don’t even have to think about it and you have a full, balanced meal on the table.  Of course, this isn’t health food.  But I don’t eat like this every day, and you only live once! 😉

So, just to give you a couple of steps:

Mix your left over vegetables with your mashed potatoes.

Place a little oil or butter into a non-stick frying pan, over high heat.

Put your mash and veggies into the pan, and form into a large patty.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes, and then place a large plate over the pan, flip over, and slide the patty back into the pan and cook another 5-7 minutes until nicely browned.

In the mean time, fry up a couple of eggs in another pan.

Serve your bubble and squeak topped with the fried egg and your re-heated gravy.

Enjoy!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla