This past weekend Chris and I became uncle and auntie again! Baby Matthew joined us last Friday and the family all got together at Chris’ parents house for a Sunday roast. Chris made a delicious roast chicken with thyme butter and fresh orange juice with sage and onion stuffing. I think Americans don’t do this often enough. It’s not like it’s overly complex. Just keep an eye on it, occasionally baste it with its juices and fat and make sure you don’t over cook it. Before it was done, he even added cocktail sausages around the baking tray. It was served up with gravy, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, roast parsnips, broccoli and cheesy leeks. Absolutely delicious! And it’s actually a pretty healthy meal too!
There was quite a bit of leftover chicken, so naturally I thought of making a chicken pie. It’s been a bit of a cold June here, and savory pies are always comforting – not to mention incredibly easy to make. If you have leftover roast chicken and have a decently stocked kitchen with butter, flour, milk and thyme, then all you really need is ready-made puff pastry. In this case, I had some leftover puff pastry from making my first fish pie last week. Also, I always have dried thyme and butter and flour and milk. But for our weekly grocery shop, I got lucky and found in the marked down section – leeks, thyme and lardons. To make the dish a bit heartier I thought I’d add in some white button mushrooms as they’re not pricey anyways. Click here for my Chicken and Leek Pie.
Chicken, leek, mushroom and bacon pie filling
However, as I decided I didn’t have the right amount of pastry for the baking dishes I have, I improvised and use the filling to make a pasta dish instead. I happened to have some radiatori pasta shapes which look like ‘radiators’. Apparently they’re great for thicker sauces, so a great combination with my chicken pie filling. I saved a bit of the pasta water to thin out the filling so it was more of a sauce. All in all a success! And Chris has happily taken it to work for leftovers lunch too
Chicken pie pasta!
Now what I didn’t mention in my recipe is that the butter I used to cook the leeks in was some leftover tarragon butter. I actually had a really long block of tarragon butter I had frozen ages ago, and I finally used it when I made the fish pie. Tarragon is an incredibly fragrant and flavorful herb. It goes bad really quickly, so I took some advice from one of my chef instructors last year @ LCB and made tarragon butter.
All I did was roughly chop it and combine it with room temperature butter. Spread some plastic wrap onto your counter and spoon the butter on in a row. Start folding the plastic over it and then twist the ends. Basically you want a log shape. If you hold both twisted ends at the same time, roll the log back and forth and it’ll tighten up. Then pop it in the freezer to firm up and use as desired! I’m actually going to do the same with the extra thyme that I bought for the chicken pie this week!
In case anyone is interested, below are pictures for the fish pie I made. It was the first time I’ve ever even eaten fish pie! As an American, the concept of fish pie was a bit strange to me. I had this thought that the seafood would turn out rubbery and the sauce bland. But since we had a ton of fish that needed to be used. I thought I’d take a stab at it. I haven’t written the recipe but it’s basically the same concept of the chicken pie. The ingredients can vary but I used: plain white fish, bit of smoked haddock, cooked crayfish and baby shrimp, leeks, asparagus and tarragon butter. A couple of differences in cooking method include:
- Poach your fish in the milk and set the milk aside for the sauce.
- You don’t need to mix the seafood with the sauce. Once poached, add the bite-sized fish pieces, crayfish and shrimp into the baking tray. Then just pour the sauce over.
- I blanched the asparagus before adding it to the sauce. I only used asparagus as it was marked down at the market. But a more common vegetable would be peas. Just toss frozen peas straight into the sauce.
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