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Mexican Pot Pies

This recipe is like my week so far… milder than it looks and less complicated than expected, despite initial impressions.

I still cant wait for the weekend and the chance to sleep in and think slowly, or not at all. But in the meantime, rather than needing a weekend morning to prepare, this recipe turned out to be a good distraction to briefly turn the mind away from to do lists, chores and mid week crises and concentrate on the soothing task of rolling, chopping, stirring, tasting. Cooking is the best therapy.

I have the March issue of my delicious magazine to thank for the recipe. I’ve had to start folding over all the corners of the pages that catch my eye as I read each issue so that I can come back to them as I find more than I can make in one sitting.

I’m landing up with a lot of dog eared pages.

So I’ve been picking most of the week’s meals from my magazines instead of my cookbooks to make a dent in the backlog and this one was from their Reach for the Pies! special. I havent even got to the other pies (all equally tempting) but since this proved to be such a good way of relieving my work addled brain I’ll make my way through the rest now without waiting for a weekend or lots of spare time.

So here’s my slightly adapted version of the delicious-pot-pie-mid-week-cure-for-the-overworked-foodaholic!

1. Unwind

Start by getting your ingredients out one by one so that you can approach this at a leisurely pace. Cut the chicken into pieces, dice carrots and peppers, open the tin of beans… Chop up your butter into cubes and let it soften slightly (while you pour a glass of wine).

2. Stress Relief

Place slightly softened butter and flour in a blender and pulse until it turns to fine sand. Add cold water 1tbsp at a time and continue to pulse until the dough comes together. Turn out on a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 15 mins or more.

In the meantime heat oil over a medium to high heat and quickly sear the chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from the heat and set aside. Once cooled chop up into cubes (I find it stays tender if you fry it in larger pieces and chop afterwards).

3. Methodical Calm

This part is just plonking things into the pan one at a time and gently stirring which always relaxes me.

Add the onion to the empty pan and cook until softened, stirring every now and then. Add the chorizo, garlic and spices and cook another couple of minutes, then stir in the carrots and peppers. Add the beans and the tomatoes and stir again. Finally add the chicken pieces, season and simmer simmer for about 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly.

Spoon into individual ramekins or pie pots and leave to cool (I got 6 out of mine as they are little but you need to serve a lot of veg to make a decent main meal portion).

4. Zone out

This bit isn’t complicated pastry assembly that requires concentration. You can absent mindedly stamp out the lids and glue them on while you chat to partner/children or just gaze out the window.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out. Find a cutter or glass/bowl slightly larger than the diameter of your ramekins (no specific diameters here!) and punch out round discs, re-rolling the dough if you need to until you have enough lids.  Then glue a lid onto each pie by wetting the rim of the ramekin and pressing the pastry down. Finish by crimping the edges with a fork and cutting two slits in the top.

Brush the tops with beaten egg and bung them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.

Simples! ♥

 

Mexican Pot Pies

Adapted from delicious magazine version. Makes 4-6 pies.

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 85g chorizo, chopped
  • 1 chilli, de-seeded and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained
  • 300g plain four
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 1 egg, beaten for glazing

Place slightly softened butter and flour in a blender and pulse until it turns to fine sand. Add cold water 1tbsp at a time and continue to pulse until the dough comes together. Turn out on a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 15 mins or more.

In the meantime heat oil over a medium to high heat and quickly sear the chicken pieces until lightly browned on all sides. Remove from the heat and set aside. Once cooled chop up into cubes.

Add the onion to the empty pan and cook until softened, stirring every now and then. Add the chorizo, garlic and spices and cook another couple of minutes, then stir in the carrots and peppers. Add the beans and the tomatoes and stir again. Finally add the chicken pieces, season and simmer simmer for about 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly. Spoon into individual ramekins or pie pots and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out. Find a cutter or glass/bowl slightly larger than the diameter of your ramekins (no specific diameters here!) and punch out round discs, re-rolling the dough if you need to until you have enough lids.  Then glue a lid onto each pie by wetting the rim of the ramekin and pressing the pastry down. Finish by crimping the edges with a fork. Brush the tops with beaten egg and bung them in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.

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I made these ricotta stuffed tomatoes today for lunch from Aimee Lee’s blog “Cooking my way thin” and they were delicious! It was cold and grey outside and I was working from home while the joiners came to start renovating our kitchen so I decided to make something hot for lunch.

I didn’t have any beef tomatoes and I was cooking for one so I made two baby ones without the corn and courgettes and had them on toasted ciabatta drizzled with balsamic syrup. They look just like little red and white baubles so I think I’ll keep the recipe to use again as a starter at Christmas time!

Today is the last time I’ll be able to cook this week as tomorrow the sink and oven will be ripped out so as a final treat I’m making Bunny Chows for dinner tonight.  A Bunny Chow is essentially curry served in a hollowed out loaf of bread and is a South African fast food staple (if you want to know more about the history you can read this Wikipedia article). The magic thing about a bunny is that the bread doubles as a bowl for the curry and your side dish. You just pull bits of bread off and dunk them in the curry as you go, functional and delicious!

I’m not attempting to make the bread tonight because most of my cooking utensils are packed away but this is the one I was going to use from Barefoot Kitchen Witch. I made it with soup a few weeks ago and its perfect – soft but strong enough to hold the curry and you can make it ahead of time (thank you BKW!).

I’ve included two curry recipes that I’ve written: Chicken and Lentil. I’m making the lentil one tonight but they’re both just as nice.

Cooking in a building site

Chicken Curry

This is a rich creamy curry but you can make it slightly lighter by replacing the coconut milk with extra yoghurt at the end. Serves 2-4 people depending on the size of your tummy!

  • 2 large chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 1 chilli, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Greek yoghurt (or double if you aren’t using coconut milk)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Gently heat the oil in a large pan and toast the spices for 1 min. Add the onion, ginger and chilli and fry for 2 min. Add the garlic and fry for a further minute. Add the chicken and fry for 4 min, then add the wine, cook off and turn down the heat. Add the coconut milk and simmer for 15 min. Turn off the heat, stir in the coriander and yoghurt and serve (stir the yoghurt in carefully otherwise it will curdle).

Lentil Curry

This is quite a light curry, especially with the fresh tomato and spring onions tossed through at the end. Serves 2-3.

  • 150g brown lentils
  • 3-4 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 chilli, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup wine (white although I use red if that’s all I have and it works fine)
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt

Chop 2 of the tomatoes, the spring onions and the coriander and set aside. Boil the lentils for about 20 min until soft but not mushy. In the meantime toast the spices in the oil and then fry the onion and chilli for 5 min. Add the tomato puree and fry for another 2 min. Add the wine and cook off. Add the remaining chopped tomato, the stock cube and half a cup of water. Add the drained lentils and simmer for 20 min. Turn off the heat and stir in the yoghurt. Finally mix in the fresh tomato, spring onions and coriander and serve.

Bunny Chow

  • 1 small loaf of bread (or half a loaf per person)
  • Curry of your choice

Cut the loaf of bread in half and hollow out the middle. Put the core to one side.  Spoon hot curry into the middle of the loaf and put the core back in the top. Serve on its own or with chutney and sambals.

    I’ve just eaten mine and I’m stuffed! Enjoy x

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