I've got the best problem solver for any Winter blues-food! This chicken pot pie is pretty much the perfect dish this winter. Make it vegetarian with jackfruit or use chicken breast, it's up to you. But whatever you do, you really have to make this. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader!
I know that the idea of using jackfruit instead of chicken may seem odd but I think this is one of the best uses of it. The jackfruit really mimics the texture of cooked chicken breast and when coated in a flavoursome, creamy, cheesy sauce and covered with buttery puff pastry, winter becomes a welcome guest instead of an irksome intruder. I was quite honestly astonished at how tasty this was.
This "not-chicken" pot pie was made for a dinner party - but not your ordinary dinner party. One cold morning Nina and I were discussing the merits of staying in your pyjamas all day and I suggested that we have a pyjama party at our place. I'd cook and we'd watch strange things on tv and eat popcorn.
There would be two rules: no make up and you had to be wearing pyjamas. On the menu were a range of things-this chicken pot pie but made with jackfruit so that Nina could eat it along with a greens and avocado sesame salad (because I can't have a meal without salad). I also baked a classic custard tart dusted with grated nutmeg and made some whisky and gin infused chocolate truffles and served an imitation Garrett Popcorn.
"I don't want to wear pyjamas," said Mr NQN.
"You're wearing them," I responded because really who wouldn't want to schlep around the house in their jammies? He pulled on a pair of Qantas pyjamas and I wore my United PJs (how good are airline pyjamas?). Then Nina and Garth arrived. She was in her comfiest pyjamas and wearing a sleep mask. Garth was wearing what we called the "old rich gentleman's robe" over his pyjamas-the kind that you wear in front of a fireplace while smoking a pipe.
It was the most relaxed dinner party we've ever had. Nobody got cold or uncomfortable and we ate our food not at the dining table but around the television on the couch. See, Winter isn't so bad, especially when you have comfort food to match!
So tell me Dear Reader, would you enjoy a pyjama party? Would you make the chicken or jackfruit version?
Plant Based Chicken Pot Pie
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 2 x 400g/14oz. tins of jackfruit in brine
- Oil for frying
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stick celery, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
- 400g/14oz. tin corn kernels
- 1 cup peas
- 3 cups milk (or almond or soy milk), divided
- 1/2 cup cream (vegan cream)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2-3 teaspoons vegetarian or chicken stock powder
- 75g/2.6ozs. butter
- 3-4 tablespoons flour
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water
The jackfruit once mashed resembles chicken
Step 1 - Firstly drain and rinse the jackfruit. Cut off the pointy tip of the jackfruit pieces that are more solid. Mash up the rest using your hands so that it looks like fibres.
Step 2 - Heat oil in a large pot and fry the onion, carrot and celery for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic cloves and cook for a minute. Add the jackfruit, corn, peas and 2 cups of milk, cream, cheese, bay leaves, thyme and stock powder and simmer for 10 minutes or so.
Step 3 - In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then add the flour and stir creating a roux. Add the remaining cup of milk and stir and then add this into the jackfruit mixture. Simmer until thickened and season with salt and black pepper. Place in a baking dish and cool.
Step 4 - Thaw the puff pastry and cut off what you need to cover the pie (measure against the baking dish). Place it in the fridge while you cut out the leaves with the remaining pastry. Place the leaves in the fridge until you need them.
Step 5 - Preheat oven to 220C/440F and place the pastry on top of the pie. I use the tines of a fork to press down the sides. Brush with egg wash. Then add the leaves and brush with egg wash again. Bake for 30 minutes.