leftover chicken & veg packed pocket pies

It is hard cooking for two (and a little 1 year old) and not have any leftovers. Especially with dishes like roasts. In our industry we waste nothing and so i recycled the chicken meat for these lovely, tasty puff pies. They are so easy to make and are a great way to sneak vegetables in for the kids.
These pocket pies freeze really well so i usually make a whole batch, freeze them, and then bag them for later use. Simply pop them into a hot oven straight from the freezer and you have a great lunch or light dinner when time is of the essence. The size of the pies depends on yourself. I used a fairly small tea saucer to cut out my rounds but you can use a side plate or any other round mould.
Grated cheese is another ingredient that works well in these pies although i did not add it this time.

ingredients | makes about 10 – 12 | easy
2C chicken, deboned and roughly chopped
2T olive oil
2T butter, & extra if needed
1 onion, chopped
1t crushed garlic
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 large carrot, grated
2C mushrooms, sliced
1C frozen peas & corn mix
2T flour
1C chicken stock
1/4C cream
5 sprigs thyme, leaves only
salt to taste
black pepper
2 rolls puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
flour for dusting

how to do it
In a large skillet, heat olive oil & butter and sauté the onion until it has a nice gloss and is almost tender. Add the sliced mushrooms the pan & an extra tablespoon of butter. Cook for about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, while stirring.
Add the grated carrot & zucchini and cook for about two minutes. Stir the flour through the mixture, cook for one minute and pour the stock into the skillet.
Allow the mixture to simmer for about five minutes until reduced and thickened. Add the chopped chicken and fresh thyme, stir it through and cook for a further five minutes.
Pour the cream into the skillet and add the pea & corn mix. Stir and cook for five minutes more. Season with salt & pepper.

You don’t want a very wet mixture so ensure you cook and simmer the mixture enough to allow the juices to evaporate.

Set the mixture aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, place the first batch of pastry on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry out, extending it by about 2 – 3cm on each side. Using a small plate, cut out circles and place it onto a floured baking tray.
Repeat this until you have used all of the pastry.
Now spoon the mixture onto the centre of each pastry round, taking care not to overfill the pastry. Lightly brush the egg around the edges and press one side down on the other side.
Press a fork into flour and gently press around the edges of the pastry to seal the pocket.
Using a sharp knife, make little incisions in the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape while it bakes.
Brush the pocket pies with the beaten egg and place the tray into the freezer. Freeze overnight. You can bag the pies and mark it with the date and ingredients.
Once ready to use the pies, heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Place the pies into the hot oven on a baking tray and bake until the pastry is beautifully crispy and browned.
Serve the pies with a garden salad and homemade mayonnaise.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

cheat’s chicken & phyllo pie

With a little one year old running around the house, learning to walk and playing inquisitive games, time is sometimes of the essence. Meaning little time to cook something very amazing that generally takes more than an hour.
This is where my trustworthy pressure cooker comes into play. My INSTANT POT. Most likely one of the best purchases i have made since i started cooking.
Using the pressure cooker, meat cooking time is cut by less than half, and since the machine does all the work I have my hands free to focus on other little things as I pot around the kitchen or run after my daughter.
For this recipe I used chicken breast, which generally isn’t the most tender part of the chicken but the pot changes this reality completely and you are left with tender, pull apart chicken…perfect for this delicious one pan pie, topped with crispy phyllo pastry…

ingredients | easy | serves 6
4 chicken breasts
2C chicken stock
4 sprigs thyme
1/2t fine salt
3T olive oil
2T butter
1 white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
5 extra thyme sprigs, leaves only
3 leeks, sliced diagonally
1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, sliced or halved
2 zucchini, sliced in half and chopped
1 large carrot, grated
2T all purpose flour
1.5 chicken stock
1/2C milk
1/4C cream
1/2t onion seeds
1/2t dried oregano
1/4t mustard seeds
1/2C frozen peas
1 roll phyllo pastry
1/2C butter, melted (you may need more depending on the size of your skillet)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Place the chicken breasts into the pressure cooker. Cover with the two cups chicken stock. Add the thyme & salt. Cover the pot with the lid, seal the vent and set the time to 35 minutes on high pressure. Let the machine do the rest.
In a large oven proof skillet, heat the olive oil & butter until melted. Sauté the onion until glossy, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, grated carrot, leeks & zucchini and cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the flour and stir. Pour the chicken stock into the skillet and stir well, while cooking on a low heat. Just bubbling. Leave to cook for about two minutes until the mixture has thickened. Add the thyme and garlic and cook, while stirring for about two minutes.
Now add the spices and season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
Manually release the pressure of your cooker. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken breast from the pressure cooker.
Place the chicken breasts on a plate and using two forks, pull the meat apart.
Bring the vegetable mixture to a gentle simmer and add the pulled chicken to the skillet. MIx. Pour the milk & cream into the skillet and stir to combine.
Add the peas and cook for about three minutes. Add more cream or milk if you desire. Flatten the top of the mixture by using a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool while preparing the phyllo pastry.

Roll the pastry out on a flat surface. Cut the pastry in blocks, about 10x10cm. Brush one sheet with the melted butter and place a second sheet on top. Brush the second sheet with butter. Fold the four sides together and place on top of the chicken mixture, like a flower. Repeat with the remaining phyllo and butter until you have covered the top of the chicken mixture.

Place the skillet into the oven and bake until the pastry is beautifully golden and crisp. About 20 minutes.

Serve the pie with basmati rice and a salad of your choice.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

veg packed chicken pie

food for thought – lemons float, limes sink. It all comes down to density.

what’s happening?

i was raised in a home where we were taught not to waste food and i am very thankful for that. there is so much you can do with ‘extra ingredients’ rather than just push it into the bin. it is also sometimes hard to cook for just one or two people. when i roast a whole bird i always have some leftover chicken that is perfectly suited for a pie as delicious as this one. so when you have some leftover chicken from a roast, make a chicken pie or freeze the chicken meat for a future pie. i added loads of veggies, which is cooked in the chicken stock and finished it off with a good glug of cream. for this recipe i used skinless, deboned chicken breasts that i cooked in the pressure cooker for about half hour. the end result was perfectly tender, juicy chicken breast meat, easy to pull apart.
delicious comfort food the whole family will enjoy!

ingredients | serves 6
1 roll puff pastry, room temperature
1 egg, beaten
3 skinless deboned chicken breasts, sliced and cut into small pieces
2tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2tbs plain flour
2tbs butter
350g butternut, cubed
2 carrots, cut into blocks
1 1/2c mushrooms, sliced
1/2c frozen peas
2tsp paprika
4 thyme sprigs, leaves only or 1 tsp dried thyme
salt to taste
black pepper
1/2c white wine
1 1/2c chicken stock
1/4c cream
handful fresh parsley, chopped

preheat oven to 180 degrees c. grease a standard size pie dish and set aside.
in a large skillet, heat olive oil & butter together until melted and hot. add onion & garlic and sauté until translucent. brown the chicken breast pieces on all sides and add the spices, herbs & brown sugar. stir through and cook for about 1 minute. add the veggies except the peas and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. deglaze the skillet with the white wine and reduce by half. sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stir through and cook for 1 minute. slowly pour the chicken stock into the skillet while stirring.
cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. remove the lid and simmer until the mixture has reduced and thickened. add the peas, cream & parsley, stir through and cook for a further 5 minutes.
take off the heat, pour the mixture into the prepared pie dish and cool for about 15 minutes.
meanwhile, roll the pastry out on a floured surface to fit the pie dish. once the mixture has cooled slightly, cover with the pastry and press the sides down with a fork. brush the pastry with the beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden.
serve with white rice or creamy mashed potato and or salad.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x

Rustic apple pie

This is a great way to use all of those apples you’re trying to eat your way through! A very easy but tasty apple pie drizzled with white chocolate and served with vanilla creme fraiche!!
It is a wow factor for very little effort.
And to make things even easier, the pastry is store bought. Saving you a lot of time!! For some colour, garnish with fresh mint leaves!

Ingredients | Serves 8
1 Roll puff pastry, at room temperature
1 Egg, beaten
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 C brown sugar
1 Tsp lemon juice
4 Tbs Butter
Pinch salt
1 Tub creme fraiche
1.5 Tbs Castor sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla essence
1/2 C flaked almonds, toasted
50g White chocolate, melted

Roll out pastry on a floured surface. Grease a loose bottom quiche pan with spray & cook. Place pastry into the pan, press into the sides and prick with a fork. Brush with beaten egg and set aside. Toss the sliced apple with the lemon juice.
Melt the butter and mix with the brown sugar & salt and coat the apples with this mixture. Arrange the apples over the puff pastry and pour remaining brown sugar mixture over the apples.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until nicely browned and apples are soft.
Meanwhile, in a dry pan, toss the flaked almonds until fragrant and toasted. Melt the white chocolate in a microwave, stirring every 20 seconds.
Using a whisk, mix the castor sugar & vanilla essence into the creme fraiche.
Remove the pie from the oven. Cool for 5 minutes.
Slice the pie but keep its shape. Top with the toasted almonds and using a teaspoon, drizzle with the white chocolate. Top each slice with a tablespoon of creme fraiche and serve.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x