Chicken Pie and Chocolate-dipped Strawberries

6 May

'Dinosaur' Chicken Pie

 

As it has been quite a while since my children stopped eating mush, I am loath to make separate meals for them. Although there are some spicy dishes we like that are probably a bit too old for them at the moment, often I try to cook just one dish that the whole family will eat. Chicken Pie is a winner every time, and if you are using leftovers, and shop-bought pastry, it’s almost too easy. 

This dish is a favourite of mine and provides a great opportunity to feel thrifty and virtuous as slightly jaded looking herbs and vegetables from the back of the fridge are brought back to life. A cursory review of our fridge today revealed some spinach about to hit its sell by date (well actually its 3 days over but it looks just about okay), a small tub of crème fraîche, and half a small bunch of tarragon that had long ago given up hope of a rescue. And of course I still had some roasted chicken left over from the weekend’s food fest. 

I keep a supply of ready rolled puff pastry in the freezer.It is a bit more expensive than the stuff that you roll yourself, but there is less mess to clear up, and there is no need to defrost it for hours. With the ready rolled pastry I take it out of the freezer an hour or so before using it (just leaving it out on the side) and hey presto, you are ready to go. 

Mr Mummyinahurry's Pie

 

I make this pie in 2 ways. In the oven in a big dish if it is just for adults. But if I am making it for the children I choose the stove top method. When I first started making these, I would oven cook these small individual pies for the children which they love. However, the big drawback of that method is that the pots stay so hot, you have to wait for ages before it it safe for them to eat. So I switched to this much quicker alternative method of making it on the stove top, and cooking the pastry separately. That way, they can have a serving in their own dish, but it wont burn them. And if Mr Mummyinahurry is working late, I can just set aside a serving for him in a small lasagna type dish, and just put the pastry on and pop it in the oven when he gets home. 

CREAMY CHICKEN PIE 

INGREDIENTS (for 2 under 5s and 2 adults) 

300G cooked chicken 

200ml crème fraîche 

200ml vegetable stock 

1 dessertspoonful chopped tarragon 

1 tsp ready chopped (frozen) garlic 

1 sheet all butter puff pastry (230g) 

METHOD 

Remove the pastry from the freezer about 1 hour before you need it and turn oven on to 200 degrees (or 180 for a fan oven) about 15 minutes before you want to start. 

Sometimes I cut out shapes for the children using biscuit cutters, or I just leave it in one large oblong as it comes. It cooks very well on a pizza stone. Cook for about 15 minutes. 

While the pastry is cooking. Boil the kettle and make up about 200ml vegetable stock or chicken stock. Put the torn or chopped chicken into a pan on a low heat. Add tarragon (chopped) and crème fraîche, and the stock. Blanch spinach under boiling water, then squeeze out all the excess juice (I use a clean tea towel). Chop spinach finely then add to the mixture. Make sure the chicken it is warmed thoroughly. I found the same amount of time the pastry was in oven (15 minutes) was enough. 

The recipe above gives a delicious, light but thin sauce. For a thicker sauce, I would suggest mixing a teaspoon of corn flour with a dash of milk until it is smooth, then adding it to the mixture at the beginning. Bring the mixture to a simmer for about 5 minutes and check to ensure that you cannot still taste the flour. 

If you have vegetable hating children you may wonder why I would even try to serve a dish containing such an obvious green vegetable. My eldest, David,  is very vegetable averse at the moment. However, he loves broccoli with boursin, so I hoped that a creamy sauce would work. It didn’t. Until I tempted him with the promise of dessert. Chocolate dipped strawberries. Needless to say he cleaned the plate! 

VARIATIONS 

I have made this with leeks/mushrooms/carrots/frozen mixed veg or whatever needs using up. If I am short on the quantities of chicken, I add cooked pancetta or bacon. If you are making one large pie, you will probably need to allow about half an hour in the oven. Keep an eye on the pastry to make sure it doesnt burn. 

CHOCOLATE DIPPED STRAWBERRIES 

These were an instant hit in our house. I have heard that this portion of strawberries gives roughly one days RDA of vitamin C. A bonus.  I use dark chocolate which is full of the good stuff and not so much fat or sugar. And if you use greek yoghurt, then this dessert is practically a health food! 

INGREDIENTS (per person) 

Childrens strawberries with chocolate dip

 

6 or 7 small strawberries 

20g dark chocolate (70%) 

1 dessert spoon crème fraîche (cream or greek yoghurt would also work) 

METHOD 

Place chocolate in small ramekins. Melt in microwave. I zap it for 20 seconds at a time until melted. About 80 seconds in total did it. Mix in crème fraîche (do this quickly or the cool of the crème fraîche   may set the chocolate). The result is a thick ganache type cream. 

Rinse strawberries then dry (leave green stalky hull to grip) 

Serve (with wet wipes on hand for chocolate faces and fingers) 

The 'grown-up' version

 

My preference is to skip the creme fraiche and to have the dark chocolate in its pure, molten, unadulterated form…. 

TIPS 

These ramekins are fab for serving up bits and pieces for the children. The children love to feel all grown up with proper china.  And I don’t mind too much if they get damaged as they were free with  M&S Creme Brulee.

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One Response to “Chicken Pie and Chocolate-dipped Strawberries”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Haddock with a herb and parmesan crust « Mummyinahurry's Blog - May 12, 2010

    […] me, which he did without a second glance. Result, I saved £5 on the total spend, and bought myself strawberries and chocolate for […]

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