Saturday, 17 May 2014

Stretch that Chicken!!

I defrosted two chicken breasts (admittedly they were large ones.... the kind that you would expect to be able to cut in two) and I made them last and last and last... what did I do?  First I made a fairly ordinary chicken casserole...

This is a picture of the leftover chicken casserole cut up... I initially made it with the breasts cut only into two pieces each.  This is how I did it...Fry off some onions and garlic until soft and then dance the chicken breasts into a plate of plain flour with some salt and pepper and mixed herbs then brown them in the same pan.  Turn up the heat and add some red wine (couple of wine glasses full).  Add two teaspoons of mustard (any kind) some salt and some pepper.  Pop the lid on and turn the heat down really low and simmer away for about 30 minutes - or until they are cooked through.  Enjoy with mashed potatoes and some veg.  Yum yum.

The next day I chopped up the chicken that was left and added some poached carrot and red peppers (the only veg I had in the fridge).  I then made pastry in 33 degrees Cenigrade heat...

12 oz plain flour, pinch of salt, 2 oz lard, 4 oz butter and a splash of iced water.  Apologies for the ounces rather than grams but I'm an old fashioned girl in some things and ounces and pastry just seems to work better for me.  Rub the lard and butter into the flour at lightning speed and then mix to a dough with the icy water and bung it in the fridge really fast!!!!!

While you roll out the base of the pie (or pies in this case) put the pastry for the tops back in the fridge.  I had difficulty with the size of my pie tins... I forgot that the last time I did this I used a plate to cut out the pastry so after cutting out with my largest ring I found that the pies were actually quite a bit smaller than they should be... no problem... I made six... and I have enough pastry and filling left to make another three at least.

Brush some beaten egg onto the top of the pies before you bake them.

 Put the uncooked pies back into the fridge if your oven has not yet reached 200C... when it is at temperature you can pop the pies in and set the timer for about 30 minutes... it depends upon your oven and only you know your oven well.  Keep an eye on them... the filling is already cooked so you just need the pastry to be golden in colour and they are ready.

The only drawback is that working so fast means a real mess in the kitchen....

No worries... a G&T helps the cleaning up process no end!

 Now... how frugal am I?  Well the first saving was when we bought the chicken whole and butchered it ourselves, freezing whatever we were not ready to use straight away.  It is always cheaper to do this than to buy chicken breasts ready prepared.  So with the chicken breasts we had a casserole, then we had two pies each with some extra veg, then we froze five pies which will make another main meal or perhaps two lunches with the addition of cheese and bread. The chicken legs were last Sunday's roast.  The wings are usually kept frozen until I have a few of them which I roast to make a special chicken gravy for celebration meals such as Easter or visitors coming to eat.  The carcass makes stock and any meat left on the bones is picked off and added to a risotto which is a perfect light lunch or late tea.  The stock of course makes soup which usually last two days... So altogether I made a 5kg chicken do 7 meals for 2 people.  ALWAYS buy a large chicken and S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-T!!  It's more economical than buying a small one.

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