chicken and tarragon pie
15 mins "doing", then about 45 mins in the oven
2 chicken breasts
an onion (diced)
a clove or two of garlic (chopped)
2 handfuls of mushrooms (sliced)
a pot of crème fraiche (low fat is fine)
a chicken stock cube
a good healthy shake of dried tarragon (maybe a tablespoon?)
frozen pastry (I prefer puff, but shortcurst would probably do)
chop chicken into chunks and fry in a little oil over medium heat. When nearly cooked through (about 5 mins), add onions. Once onions have softened (about 2 mins) add garlic and mushrooms and turn to low heat (add more oil if pan looks very dry or anything is sticking). After about 5 more minutes sprinkle over stock cube and fry for 30 seconds then add the crème fraiche. Cook, stirring, over low heat for a couple of minutes and then add tarragon. Cook for about another 5 mins to make sure flavours all mix. taste and add salt and pepper if you want (once you are happy with the recipe you can experiment by adding a class of white wine).
Pour into a ceramic dish (like you do a lasagne in). Roll out the pastry and lay it over the top. You can brush it with egg or milk if you want.
Put in oven at about 180 for about 40 mins, or until the pastry has browned (and risen if puff).
I tend to serve with green beans or peas or broccoli, and sometimes boiled pots though they're not really necessary with the pastry.
TOAD IN THE HOLE
TOAD IN THE HOLE
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour
about half a pint of milk
mixed herbs (herbes de provence or other mixed green herbs)
red wine vinegar
a glass red wine
a couple of spoons of brown sugar
a healthy splash of balsamic vinegar
about 5 minutes "doing time", half an hour "resting" then up to around 40 minutes cooking
Put the flour into a big plastic bowl. Break in the eggs and mix in with a whisk. It should make a big thick guey clump (if it is too runny, add a little bit more flour). Gradually add milk little by little, mixing furiously as you do. The mixture should gradually become more liquid (if you get lumps, just stop adding milk for a moment and beat harder). Keep adding milk until it's about the consistency of double cream. Add a tiny drop of cooking oil and some salt and pepper and mixed herbs. Set aside for about half an hour
When you set the batter aside, make the onion marmalade. Thinly slice the onions and put in a pan with a knob of butter and some olive oil, over a low heat. The onions will slowly sweat down (but shouldn't really colour - if they start to sizzle or go brown the heat is too high). After about five minutes, they should have reduced in size and gone all floppy. Pour in about a glass each of red wine vinegar and red wine, and a quick slosh of balsamic.
At this stage, put the sausages into a casserole pan or clean baking tray in the oven at about 180-200 to brown.
Let the marmalade slowly simmer away, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
Once they're browned (maybe 10-15 minutes), pour in the batter mix and stick straight back in the oven. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
When the marmalade has been going for about 20 minutes, add a couple of desert spoons of brown sugar, stir through and leave to carry on slowing bubbling away. If it starts to look dry, add another splash of either wine or vinegar and taste to see if you need more sugar.
When the timer goes off, have a quick peak at the toad in the hole to see if it's done. When cooked, it should be risen and brown. Try to just look really quickly and not leave the door open too long as if it's not quite done it can collapse if it's in a draft.
I often just serve the toad in the hole with a big dollop of the marmalade on the top, we will have 3 sausages each (Richie will sometimes have 4!). If you want to be healthier it would be nice with pretty much any boiled veg. Sweetcorn is very quick - you could just pop a can of sweetcorn in a glass bowl, pour over boiling water, cover with clingfilm or a glass plate and microwave for 2 minutes. You can do much the same with frozen peas.