Winter always seems to bring out the need for comfort food in me and since I had a whole turkey breast left from Christmas dinner burning a hole in my freezer, I thought I would throw this together. I found this recipe years and years ago in a friend’s Australian Women’s Weekly cookbook and have made it often. It’s easy, on the cheap (priced out below), and everyone loves it, plus the puff pastry makes it seems fancy, so it’s great for guests (double it and bake in a big lasagna pan to feed a crowd) served with a nice salad. Also, the filling can be made up to a day ahead, so all you have to do is top it with the puff pastry and bake. What I’ve listed below is the basic recipe that has all the stuff I can’t live without, however, I’ve often added a handful or two of frozen edamame beans, a potato, cubed and cooked with the veggies, fresh herbs are lovely, chervil if you can find it, or some nice greens (rapini or kale chopped finely). As always, make it your own and enoy!
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or leftover cooked, chopped chicken or turkey breast) $2.44 (Costco price per pound)
1 cup chicken stock $0.50
1/3 cup white wine $1.00 (based on a $12 bottle, if you don’t have wine, you can just use extra stock, but the wine is nice)
3 medium carrots, chopped $0.35
1 cup fresh or frozen peas $0.68
1 medium onion, chopped $0.25
1/4 cup butter $0.38
1/3 cup plain flour $0.03
1/2 cup cream (I used whipping cream since I had some leftover, but half and half gets the job done nicely) $0.50
1 rounded tsp chervil leaves $0.31
1, 341 mL can of corn (canned corn is nice here, but if you use frozen or fresh, be sure to add salt)$1.39
2 eggs, used separately, lightly beaten $0.50
Half a package of frozen puff pastry, thawed (I bought PC brand puff pastry sheets this time and I don’t like them. They didn’t puff up nearly as well, so I will be going back to Tenderflake puff pastry that you have to roll out) $1.99
1. If using the raw chicken breasts, place in a small, shallow skillet, cover with stock and wine and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until just cooked through. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid for filling (top up with wine or stock if not quite enough). Roughly chop the chicken and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place carrots and peas in a small pot with a little water and steam until just tender.
3. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium to medium low heat and then add onions. Stir until onions are starting to turn translucent, about 2 minutes, then add flour and stir another 2 minutes. Gradually add in reserved cooking liquid (or 2/3 cup stock and 1/3 cup wine) and cream (I combine them in my measuring cup), stirring constantly. Bring to a low boil and stir until thickened, then remove from heat.
4. Stir in chicken, carrots, peas, corn, chervil, and one beaten egg. Add salt and pepper to taste, then transfer to your baking dish (a deep dish pie plate will work, or I used a 3 quart casserole dish. Also, if you had big ramekins, or french onion soup bowls, this would look lovely in individual dishes, just adjust the cook time accordingly). At this point you can cover and refrigerate until you are ready to bake it.
5. Preheat oven to 375. Roll out your puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is just big enough to cover your dish. Brush the edges of your dish with egg, then place the pastry over top. Trim off any excess pastry, then brush the top of the pastry with the egg as well. If you wish you can use the trimmings to decorate the top of the pie; my mom always cut out leaves and things to put on top of pies, which looks lovely, but I’m usually too lazy to do it.
6. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 22-28 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and puffy. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Serves 6, total cost $10.32, cost per serving $1.72
Notes on pricing: I’m new to this, but what I have done is calculated the price per pound of each item, then weighed out what I used and calculated the cost from there. I often buy in bulk to keep the prices down, but if you were to go to the store and buy all of these ingredients, it’s obviously going to cost more. However, once you have a stockpile of basic ingredients, you can make a lot more, for much cheaper than you can purchase premade anything. Also, my eggs and my fresh veggies were organic, so you could get them cheaper, if you desired.