We’ll get to the recipe for chicken and mushroom pie in a moment, but first…
One downside of this bad weather has been the fact that, for the third time in about eight years, I was forced to take a bus to work. A bus! I’m not one of those lazy snobs who call them peasant-wagons or walks around with my nose so high in the air that my snot freezes but you must understand that I can’t bear public transport. It’s not either people (for the most part) but rather the fact I like the Fortress of Solitude that is my crappy little DS3. I like to be able to sing without worrying that the bus driver is going to take such offence that he’ll drive us straight into a river. I like to be able to fart without having to go for the rigmarole of breaking wind and then looking owlishly around at everyone else as if to say ‘is someone burning hair?‘. I like to be able to colourfully swear at other people without the fear of having my teeth introduced to my uvula. And, let’s be honest, there’s no better feeling than a little toot on an impotent horn when someone cuts in front of you, no? MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A BIG MAN.
However, I can’t drive in snow, and frankly, another day cooped up working from home with Paul breathing noisily (indeed, at all) next to me was going to tip me over the edge, and so it was that I traipsed out into the snow and slush at ungodly-o-clock on Friday morning to do something I haven’t done in years: treat another human being with civility before 10am.
I arrived at the bus stop just in time to see a bus-full of sad faces sliding away down the street, a good ten minutes early. That’s fine, it would give me a good opportunity to wonder at my own nipples turning into masonry bits in the Baltic cold. I barely had time to consider throwing myself under a passing car like a modern Emily Davison before I was joined at the bus-stop by another group of people who look equally as pissed off as me that we had to go to work. Everyone had that thin-lipped, furrowed brow thing going on, possibly because they were all sharing my thought that everyone in that bus-stop had better not jump the queue. Naturally, none of us said a word to one another. I was positively itching to turn around, place my palms out in a welcoming gesture and say ‘Now you may be wondering why I’ve called you here today’ in a rich, pleasing baritone, but sadly no. We waited in silence for twenty six years.
Just as my lips were turning black and peeling away, salvation appeared: a bus! A lovely, shiny, green beacon of hope, belching diesel fumes as it slipped its way up the street. Given I was first at the bus stop I appointed myself Chief Bus Wrangler and stood in a nice prominent position to get the bus to stop. It didn’t. Well it did, more than a few yards down the road, and when I climbed on board the driver shouted at me for not sticking my hand out. Our bus-stop is served by one service, on a street with no shops or places of note. What did he think all eighteen of us were standing by the side of the road for? Perhaps he thought it was an impromptu meeting of the Timetable Worshipper Aficionado Tribe, or TWAT for short. Surely he could have taken a quick glance at my brisk office attire (which is the same as my gardening outfit, only I change my shoes) and assumed we would want a lift into town? Pfft.
It wasn’t even a ‘oh silly you’ telling off but a full-on bark at me – it seems unusual for a passenger to be thankful of the spit-guard but I was that morning, because I reckon I would have been spittle-flecked in no time at all. I apologised profusely, told him ‘I don’t usually get the bus’ (don’t worry, I came up with nineteen better retorts in my head later) and then, in my flustered state, managed to lock my phone. That’s bad because I now held him up for another minute or so whilst I tried desperately to get their stupid buggy app to open so he could see that I wasn’t trying to scam the bus company out of a few quid by getting on for free. The temperature behind me must have dropped suddenly because I could hear quite the cacophony of tutting, which I took to be their teeth chattering.
The bus ride itself was uneventful – I mean, it’s a bus journey, what more do you want me to say about it – but it afforded me the opportunity to be simultaneously burnt and frozen at the same time. Due to someone smelling of vegetables and cigarettes sitting beside me, I was pushed up against the side of the bus, meaning my left leg was resting straight on the nuclear reactor that is the bus heater. You’ve never lived until you’ve felt your bone marrow boiling in your leg. The pain was tempered by the fact that someone in front of me thought it was sensible to have the window open because, you know, who needs to worry about their sperm count? To be fair, I don’t: as long as it doesn’t come out like a line of Crest toothpaste I couldn’t care less. The combination of burning and freezing left me feeling like a chicken breast being defrosted in the microwave. Great! Thankfully, someone ignored their Britishness, got up, slammed the window shut. We all thanked him silently.
This only left one other concern. Condensation. I’ve never really considered it before, but when I’m moving my hands around on the window to get rid of the fog that has built up, I’m smearing my hands around in other people’s saliva, amongst other things, aren’t I? Is my science correct? I mean, my bus originates from Blyth – that spit is going to be 80% knock-off Golden Virginia, isn’t it? No wonder I was gasping for a tab when I got off, though I’m probably the first person in the world to develop emphysema from osmosis.
Sigh. At least this whole experience didn’t cost the Earth, eh? Only £18 for two days.
I console myself with eating good food. These one pot chicken and mushroom pie is just the ticket for a warm winter night! Get it made! And look – we’ve even got a video guide for you to cook along to! Let us know what you think – or, just scroll down for the text. We’re not really arsed.
one pot chicken and mushroom pie with proper pastry!
Yield 6 servings
You might be tempted to forgo this recipe if you're trying to save your syns, but remember, you get 15 syns a day: and what better thing to spend them on then something tasty and delicious? This is a chicken and mushroom pie made in a frying pan which then goes in the oven: one-pot dish AND wonderful!
- 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 tsp tarragon
- 200ml chicken stock
- 105g Phildelphia Lightest (1x HeA)
- 2 good handfuls of frozen peas
- 4 potatoes, diced
- 150g ready rolled light puff pastry (30 syns)
- 2 eggs, beaten
So, cut into four, this pie is 7.5 syns per serving. But cut into six and served with veg, it's only 5 syns! And it's worth it for that pastry, that sauce, that taste!
- add the potatoes to a pan of cold water and bring to the boil
- reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potato is soft, then drain
- meanwhile, spray a large oven-safe frying pan with a little oil and add the onion
- fry gently over a medium-high heat until soft
- add the garlic and cook for another minute or so
- add the chicken, tarragon, stock and philadelphia to the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
- add the potato and peas to the pan and cook for another five minutes
- remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool
- next, preheat the oven to 180°c
- drape the pastry over the top (cut off any excess) and crimp gently around the edge
- brush with the rest of the egg and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden
- remove from the oven and allow it to rest for a couple of minutes
- dig in, serving with whatever the hell you want
top tips for making chicken in a frying pan pie
- leftover roast potatoes will work like a dream in this too!
- if you want to make a smaller pie you can do - just halve the recipe and use a smaller pan
- Frylight will knacker your pans. Use one of these instead!
- don't be tempted to swap the Philadelphia for quark. Quark will split and go manky. Stick with Phildelphia - it's more stable and tastes nicer!
- shortcrust pastry works well with this one too if you prefer
Courses dinner, leftovers
Seriously, how good does that look?
You want more stodge recipes? Who am I to say no…
- asian chicken nuggets (syn free)
- juicy paprika chicken (syn free)
- chopped chicken salad (syn free)
- larb burger (syn free)
- pizza topped chicken (syn free)
- super tasty quinoa stuffed chicken (syn free)
- easy chicken curry with spicy broccoli (syn free)
- turkey stroganoff (syn free)
- turkey and bacon meatballs with homemade BBQ sauce (syn free)
- chicken, orzo and sunblush tomato risnotto (syn free)
- salt & pepper chicken (syn free)
- diet coke chicken (syn free)
- kfc style chicken (syn free)
- greek turkey meatballs (syn free)
- chicken chow mein (syn free)
- roast dinner (syn free)