created: 2007-06-11 22:46:57
We originally started making this to use up cold roast chicken but nowadays we make it for its own sake.
4 chicken breasts 2 leeks 125g streaky bacon 200g mushrooms parsley 60g plain flour 60g butter 1 pt milk mashed potato or puff pastry for the topping Slice the leeks as thinly as you can and fry slowly in oil in a large frying pan. Add the bacon chopped up pretty small (I cut thin slices across the rashers). Then add the chicken breasts chopped up into bite-sized pieces, season and fry for five/ten minutes (you're going to cook the chicken more later). Then turn up the heat and add the mushrooms as thinly sliced as possible and fry for five minutes or so - you'll have to stir fairly frequently to stop things burning. Depending on how happy you are making a white sauce, you can do this alongside the frying or afterwards. Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour to make a paste and cook for about a minute. Add some salt and pepper. If you can be bothered, warm the milk (I rarely do, if I'm honest) and add to the roux you've made very slowly, stirring it in constantly. If it goes lumpy, turn the heat up and keep stirring - it should come together. In any case, lumps aren't a disaster. Put your chicken mixture in the bottom of an ovenproof dish and put plenty of fresh parsley on top. Then pour over the white sauce. You want plenty of sauce. Cover either in regular mashed potato or puff pastry (from a packet - do you think I have time to make it - I have three kids, dammit...). Then cook at 180 degrees until the pastry's cooked (or the potato on top is to your liking) and the filling is piping hot. We have had no problems freezing this before the final stage, defrosting thoroughly and then cooking - but if you have any concerns about the chicken, please don't. This is very flexible - you can add very lightly parboiled broccoli instead of the parsley, for example. Like the stuffed marrow [qv], it's meant to use up what you've got knocking around. But don't drop the leeks or the mushrooms - they're what make this work, in my view