Day three of my budget cooking plan (seven dinners for two people from £20 at Aldi!) was where my portion control went out of the window and I started to cheat… just a little… when I realised the only vegetable I had for this meal was onions. Two types of onions, but still, just onions… So, I’ll hold my hand up, I grabbed a small number of peas from my freezer. Like, maybe a dozen. Or maybe more. Don’t judge me…
I also cooked way too much mashed potato so I adjusted the quantities down. To be honest, I would have been fine just eating the pie on its own – it’s a big pie for two people – but my husband seemed happy enough to eat the portion of mash I made him, so there you go! Proof?! Proof I’m not mad?! Too late for all that now…
A note on the leftovers you need for today. I made a chicken stock from the bones, and added in some herbs from my garden. I’ve put in a note below for ideas for other things you can add if you have them, but if all you have is the chicken bones, that’s still good enough! You’ll need to scrape the chicken fat from your saved chicken juices and use that, too – this is all about being thrifty and taking the maximum flavour from what you’ve got. This isn’t technically schmaltz, which is clarified chicken fat, but it’s pretty close, and it’s going to add a bit of extra flavour to your pie. If you don’t want to bother with any of this, though, just use a chicken stock cube and a tbsp of oil. Be like that! I don’t care! Just remember, I bought ready-made pastry for this, so I’ve got no leg to stand on as far as convienience is concerned…
- 200g leftover chicken from roast
- 1 tbsp chicken fat from roast
- Chicken bones from roast
- 1/2 brown onion, diced
- 50g lardons
- Peas (optional)
- 25g flour (I used the bread flour from the pizza recipe)
- 100 ml milk, plus a splash for your mash!
- Ready made pastry
- 300g potatoes, peeled and cubed
- Spring onions, sliced thinly
Boil the chicken bones and simmer, with whatever seasonings you have to hand in your cupboard from these options: dried or fresh sage, parsley, bay leaves, rosemary; peppercorns; brown onions; bouquet garni; whole carrots; brown onions. Simmer for as long as possible. Reduce the stock down until it’s barely covering the bones near the end of cooking time.
Meanwhile, take your saved chicken juices from the spatchcocked chicken and remove the fat and save. When you’re ready to remove the bones, drain the stock away and add the chicken juices. You’ll want around 250-300ml worth.
Turn on the oven to 180c (fan oven).
Take the saved chicken fat (it should be around 1-1.5tbsp worth), add to a pan, and fry the lardons and the onion until the onion is soft. Stir in the flour. Add in your chicken stock and milk gradually, stirring as you go, allowing the sauce to thicken. Add in the chicken, and frozen peas, if using. Cook until simmering, and then add seasoning to taste.
Take your ready made pastry and line a greased baking / pie dish. (I used a 23cm long oblong Falcon enamel pie dish for this, and it was almost exactly the right size to accomodate the amount of pastry in the packet – much less waste than using a round dish!). Fill the pie, and then top with the rest of the pastry, brushing it with some of your milk. Poke a hole in the top for the steam to escape!
Bake for around 30 minutes, or until browned and bubbling.
Boil your potatoes until soft, then put them through a potato ricer, and add in the spring onions, milk and anything else you have to hand you fancy to add to mash – cheese, mustard, butter, etc!
Serve the pie into your pie hole, with plenty of mashed potatoes.
- Leftover chicken, etc, £1.13
- 1/2 brown onion, 7p
- 50g lardons, 25p
- 25g flour, erm… like… 5p?
- 100 ml milk, 5p
- Ready made pastry, 89p
- 300g potatoes, 22p
- Spring onions, 20p
- Peas (optional)
Total cost: £2.86!