Gods I’m terrible at this blogging malarkey aren’t I? Not necessarily at the blogging itself (although I’ll let you be the judge of that, whoever you are) but just at actually posting something, anything!
As I have had about 5 different posts buzzing around my head for the past month though, being mentally written and rewritten, waiting to be blogged, I’ll try to get them all out soon in one mass onslaught and then perhaps I’ll be able to establish some regularity to my posts after that. For now, yet again, I’ll just tell you about what I made for dinner tonight; cheesy chicken and leek pie.
I’ve been eating mainly vegetarian recently, after finally discovering a wonderful local(ish) greengrocers and thereafter vowing to eschew supermarkets wherever possible. Unfortunately I have yet to discover a good local butcher or any local butcher at all, though if I’m honest I haven’t actually ventured into those I have seen as I am easily intimidated, especially by burly men with big knives who know a lot more on the subject of meat than me. Having recently used up the last of my frozen stock though, and craving a Sunday roast, I decided I would break my vow and make do with a free range supermarket bird.
Of course though , what makes a Sunday roast quite so wonderful , is the leftovers. I had my roasted carcass, ready to (literally) re-stock my freezer, as well as a Tupperware box full of cooked chicken; my first thought was pie.
And so tonight that pie finally came to pass. I already knew I had some impulse bought leeks lurking in my fridge drawers (I’m sure I can’t be the only one who gets excited in the greengrocers and impulse buys veg) and luckily, as I could not be bothered making pastry on a school night, some potatoes squirreled away in the cupboard. What I also had I realised, midway through the pie making process, was an unused block of Stilton.
Stilton, chicken and leeks, sounded like a good combination to me. I’d already been planning to cheese up my mash potato topping with some grated cheddar, and reasoned adding an extra dimension of cheese to the pie filling could only possibly improve proceedings. Luckily, this was one of the occasions on which I was right; adding the Stilton helped thicken and bind the filling together nicely, and gave it a much needed creaminess and slightly saltier taste.
I also, instead of using the more normal butter, began by sweating the leeks in some of the chicken fat I’d saved from the roasting tin because I’m dirty/thrifty/weird like that. I convinced myself this would add extra chicken flavour to the final sauce, though I have no idea if this is in anyway true.
Cheesy Chicken and Leek Pie
- 2 small or 1 large leek, sliced
- 20g butter (or chicken fat, apparently)
- Leftover cooked chicken (at a guess, about the meat from a couple of legs)
- 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
- ½ tsp English mustard powder
- 250ml hot chicken stock
- Roughly 50g Stilton or other blue cheese
- Around 500g, or 3 medium potatoes
- 50-80g mature cheddar cheese, grated
- tsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Firstly, peel and chop the potatoes and set them in a pan of boiling water for 20-25 minutes until soft.
Melt the butter (or fat) in a medium sized pan over a low heat and drop in the sliced leeks. Stir to give the leeks and even coating then leave to sweat for 10 minutes or so until soft and slightly translucent, but before they start to colour.
Add the flour and mustard powder to the leeks and stir for a couple of minutes until it has all disappeared, then begin adding the hot stock a little at a time, stirring continuously until a smooth white sauce has formed around the leeks.
Slice or tear the cooked chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the leeks, followed by the Stilton, again broken up into smallish pieces. Continue to stir over a low heat until the Stilton has melted into the sauce and the chicken is warmed through, about 3-5 minutes. Add the parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste, then pour into an oven proof dish.
Once the potatoes are cooked drain and mash with a little butter and a splash of milk until smooth and stir in most of the cheddar; spoon the cheesy mash onto the pie filling, smoothing across with the back of a spoon so that it covers the entire pie.
Using a fork fluff the top of the mash up into small peaks and sprinkle on the remaining grated cheddar. Pop into the oven at 200’C/fan 180’C/gas 6 for 25-30 minutes until golden brown with crispy peaks of mash on top.