When it’s grey and miserable out, there’s nothing better than being safe and cosy inside — and colder weather means comfort food, right?
This dish that I’m sharing today is one of my all-time favourites. It’s a pie consisting of chicken, veg and herbs in a simple roux sauce topped with mashed potatoes. Hearty, wholesome and packed with flavour; it’s absolutely ideal for this time of year. It does take a little time to put together but it’s so worth it. This makes enough to serve four but any leftovers can easily be heated up and enjoyed the next day.
3-4 skinless chicken breasts
1/2 a medium-sized onion
40g plain flour
450ml chicken stock
A few sprigs of herbs, finely chopped (I like a mix of parsley, dill and thyme)
plus: oil, butter, salt and pepper
Start with the potatoes:
- Depending on what type you’re using, you may need to peel them first before cutting them in to chunks.
- Place them in a large saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer on a medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes until tender.
While the potatoes are simmering, move on to the filling:
- Cut the chicken fillets in to bite-sized chunks. Add a splash of oil and the chicken to a medium pan and fry on a medium heat until the chicken is light golden. Transfer to a bowl. At this point you can also set the oven to 180 degrees Celsius to pre-heat it.
- Remove the outer layer of the leek and chop roughly an inch off either end. Slice in to half inch pieces and toss it in the pan, adding another drop of oil.
- Finely slice the onion and mushrooms and stir them in with the leek. Cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Throw the chicken back in and put the pan off the heat and aside for now.
The potatoes should be ready by now:
- Drain potatoes well and return to pan.
- Mash with a good splash of milk, a knob of butter and some salt and pepper. Set aside.
Next, make the sauce:
- In a new and clean pan, melt the 40g butter over a medium heat.
- Stir in the flour to form a paste and leave to cook for 3 minutes to remove the taste of the flour.
- Add the stock gradually, roughly 50ml at a time. Each time you add some of the liquid, allow it to come to a simmer before stirring it thoroughly in to the paste.
- Repeat until all the stock is used. At the end, you should have a very thick creamy-coloured sauce.
Start to assemble the pie:
- Sprinkle the herbs in to the pan with the chicken and veg. Stir well and then add in the roux sauce.
- Transfer this mixture in to a suitable dish.
- Evenly spread the mashed potatoes on top.
- Cook in the pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes. Allow it to stand for a few minutes when it comes out.
- Then serve and enjoy!