BY Naomi Wilson from Mama Sparrow Blog
What do you associate with winter? Dark nights? Warming feasts? Candlelit afternoons? Twinkling lights? Crackling fires?
At this strange time, we’ve been embracing all those things and more, jumping headlong into all of the cosiness that Winter brings. That warm winter glow comes in so many shapes and forms, but if you look close enough, there are wonders to behold at every time of the day.
Although our weekdays haven't changed much with the advent of lockdown 2.0, our weekends have become cosy havens as we settle into the new season. They're filled with baking, sofa cuddles, puzzles and damp, muddy, stick collecting walks.
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I wanted to share a little glimpse into our weekends with one of our favourite winter’s day recipes, which is deliciously warming and filling after a bracing walk.
This is a recipe that I concocted during the last lockdown. It was a panicked fridge raid that turned into a happy accident and a new cold day favourite.
The joy of it is that it can be made ahead and put in the oven when you need it. We went all out and served it with roast potatoes but it can be enjoyed simply with fresh vegetables and works well with a nice glass of red.
Chicken & Chorizo Pie
WHAT YOU NEED
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
6 frozen spinach balls or two handfuls of fresh spinach
1 chorizo sausage
3 chicken breasts
50g plus extra for greasing
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
1 500g block of puff pastry
1 egg for glazing
WHAT YOU DO
In a large frying pan, add a tablespoon of oil on medium heat, then add the chicken. When it is no longer pink (about 6 minutes), add the chorizo and fry together for a further 6 minutes. Remove the chicken and chorizo from the frying pan and set aside, leaving the bits at the bottom of the pan.
In the same pan, add the onion and garlic on medium heat until softened. In the meantime, defrost the spinach if you’re using frozen spinach. Once the onion has softened, add the spinach to the pan and fry for 5 minutes or until wilted if you’re using fresh.
Take the pastry out of the fridge.
Push all the ingredients to one side of the pan and add the butter to the free side of the pan. When it has melted, add the flour. Mix the flour with the butter and stir it until the flour has cooked through. It should look slightly fluffy at the sides.
At this point you want to start slowly adding the milk. Make sure you continue to stir as you add the milk. This will stop any lumps from forming. When you have added all the milk, you should be left with a pinky white sauce. (The pink will be from the chorizo juices). If you haven’t already, mix up everything that you have in the pan.
Add the chicken and chorizo to the sauce and stir through for a couple of minutes. Empty the contents of the pan into a lightly greased ovenproof pie dish (preferably a dish with a lip that you can attach your pastry to).
Place a pie funnel in the centre and set aside to cool and turn your attention to the pastry. On a lightly floured surface, roll out your pastry so that it is slightly bigger than the size of your dish.
Break the egg into a bowl and give it a quick whisk. Lightly grease the rim of the dish with butter then cut a strip of your pastry to cover the rim (this will be what you attach the lid onto). You should have a border of pastry around the rim of your dish now. Brush this with some of the egg.
Using a rolling pin, lift the remainder of your pastry onto the dish and gently pinch the lid and rim together. Cut away any excess and using a fork, press down around the edge. You can use the excess pastry to put a decoration, just remember to stick it down using egg.
Put the pie and the beaten egg in the fridge now for at least 30mins. If you’re cooking it straight away then preheat the oven to 220ºc (200ºc for fan assisted ovens)/ Gas Mark 7, so it’s ready as soon as the 30mins are up.
Take the pie and egg out of the fridge and glaze with the egg.
Put it in the oven for 30mins until the pastry is golden brown. Dig in and enjoy with fresh vegetables and roast potatoes too if you’re feeling particularly naughty!
If you’re like us, then you simply can't finish off with pie, then how about fresh apple crumble in front of the fire? The ultimate in winter cosiness.
Tip: for easy blending of your white sauce, heat your milk in a microwavable measuring jug for 1-2 mins until it is warm before you start to add it to the flour.
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