Recipe: Cheat’s Chicken & Ham Pie

It was recently my turn to cook dinner for my housemates; I wanted something warming and comforting so pie was the obvious choice. But I also didn’t want to spend forever cooking! I mean, I do have work to do, and Simulation homework doesn’t do itself (though I wish it would!). In the end I decided to experiment with a quick version of a Chicken & Ham Pie, using a few cheat ingredients.

2014-01-26 19.14.24

It turned out to be just what I wanted. The sauce was thick, creamy and full of flavour, the pastry crisp, and enough meat to feel like a good meal without it costing the earth. Served with some mash and plenty of green veg it was certainly a success! Admittedly not the cheapest recipe, but very nice for an occasional treat – I’m sure you could make it thriftier buy roasting a whole chicken breast, making your own pastry/sauce but that really isn’t the point with this cheat’s version!

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 packet shredded ham hock (I got mine from Waitrose)
  • Can of condensed chicken soup
  • Can of condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 small onion
  • Seasoning – I used plenty of pepper, onion and garlic powder, a little parmesan and around 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 pack ready-rolled puff pastry

This made enough for two large pies (easily feeding four), one large portion of filling leftover, and 4 pretty sizeable sausage rolls with the leftover pastry.

Method

Finely dice some onions (I have a confession to make – I recently started using a mini food processor to do this for me, and am wondering why I didn’t start sooner!), then soften in a little butter over a low heat.

Meanwhile chop the chicken into relatively big chunks, and fry on a high heat in some oil until sealed. Then add in the onions.

2014-01-26 18.01.54Pour in the two cans of soup, adding around half a tin of water to each one to ensure everything is out.

2014-01-26 18.03.41

Stir gently until lump-free, and season with your chosen seasonings.

2014-01-26 18.07.22Gently stir in half of the ham – it will break up slightly.

2014-01-26 18.08.42Divide between pie dishes, topping with the remaining ham.

2014-01-26 18.18.49Top with pastry. If you want a nice shiny top, brush with milk, beaten egg or melted butter.

2014-01-26 18.26.51Bake for around 20-30 minutes at 180C, or until puffed up and golden.

2014-01-26 19.14.24

Serve with plenty of vegetables and mashed potatoes, if you like.

2014-01-26 19.28.03

Now I’m not saying this is the most impressive of dinners, the most refined of meals. It was just damn tasty and easy to do, and is great for feeding a larger number of people. If you want to make a meal for housemates during a busy period this is just what is needed, and I reckon it would be perfect for busy mums to – its quick enough to prepare after work, or you could even assemble it all in advance and just bung it in the oven.

I also adapted a crumble recipe to make a savoury topping for the leftover filling – for one serving rub 80g of flour in 50g of butter, add plenty of ground pepper and a little parmesan cheese, scatter over the filling, and cake until the filling is very hot, and the topping golden and crispy. Yum yum!

NOTE: This recipe forms an entry to the Co-Op Electrical Shop’s Winter Warmer competition, the details of which can be found here. In short, bloggers are challenged to create a recipe of their favourite winter warmer, be it stew, pie or pudding. I love winter recipes, as I’m just a lover of cosying up by the fire with something comforting, so I’m hoping the organisers will share all the entries in one place!

What are your favourite winter warmer recipe?