Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Phew this Summer has been hot, hot, hot so far. For me that means super easy dinners that can be prepared early in the day before the heat builds. Also, as a family we are wanting cool meals in the evening. Especially meals that don’t leave a lot of washing up! Because everyone is just too hot and tired. So I created this recipe for Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad. Not only does it taste good, the bulk of washing up is done earlier in the day.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Having been sent a jar of Garlic Mayonnaise from Kentish Oils I wanted to use it almost as a sauce for a pasta dish. Since the sunshine has been consistent throughout and with temperatures of 30C plus, I decided on a cold pasta dish. While the mayonnaise has garlic in it, it is not an overwhelming, raw, hot garlic flavour. And it blends beautifully with the lemon chicken and crunchy vegetables in this dish.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

As the chicken is baked in lemon juice it has a juicy, light lemon flavour. Also, when serving this dish I added very thinly sliced lemons. They are tangy to eat and add an extra punch to this cool, Summer meal. Likewise, an additional teaspoon of the garlic mayonnaise on top of the plated salad gives a tasty finishing touch.

Recipe: Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad serves 6

450g/1lb – Four Chicken Breasts skin and bone removed

3-4 Whole Lemons – washed and dried

2 Sweetcorn Cobs – approximately 275g/10oz or the equivalent tinned sweetcorn – drained

450g/1lb Pasta – I use rigatoni

8 Spring Onions (scallions)

2 Red Bell Peppers

2 Sticks of Celery

125g/4.5oz – approximately 5 tablespoons of Garlic Mayonnaise (plus extra to garnish) – I use Kentish Oils alternatively use the equivalent amount of mayonnaise and add one clove of minced/crushed garlic

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Method: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, 325F, gas mark 3

Preparing the chicken

  • First of all, place the chicken breasts in an ovenproof dish. Season with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and the juice from two whole lemons.
  • Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes.

Cooking the pasta and preparing the vegetables

  • While the chicken is cooking place a large pan of water on a high heat. As soon as the water is boiling add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and then add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  • Chop the spring onions, red peppers and celery to about the same size and place in a large bowl. If using tinned sweetcorn add it to the bowl.
  • Stand a sweetcorn cob on one end and carefully cut down between the husk and the corn. Turn the cob and repeat until all of the corn is removed. Repeat for the second cob.
  • 3 minutes before the pasta has finished cooking add the fresh sweetcorn to the pan.
  • Once cooked drain the pasta and sweetcorn.
FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Preparing the vegetables and pasta.

Assembling the salad

  • After 45 minutes check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Cut through the thickest part of the biggest chicken breast, there should not be any pink colour, this shows the chicken is cooked. If there is even a hint of pink return the chicken to the oven for a further 10 minutes and check again.
  • As soon as the chicken is cooked remove from the oven and place the chicken breasts on a plate for 10 minutes to rest.
  • Cut the chicken into slices.
  • Add the cooked pasta and sweetcorn to the bowl and the add the garlic mayonnaise. Mix using a large spoon.
  • Now add the sliced chicken to the bowl and mix again.
  • Taste and check for seasoning, adjust if needed.
FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Assembling the Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

The finished Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate until ready to eat. This dish tastes best when it is fridge cold.

Serve the salad with very thin slices of lemon, extra wedges of lemon to squeeze over and a drizzle of garlic mayonnaise.

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad

Keep any leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container and eat within two days.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad you may also like these:

Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad 

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Roasted Summer Vegetable Orzo Salad

Chicken Pasta Pesto Salad

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Chicken Pasta Pesto Salad

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo 

FF Creamy Garlic Lemon Chicken Pasta Salad
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Because I love the versatility of pasta it is one of my favourite staples to have in the kitchen. Since all I need are a few crunchy vegetables and this yummy garlic mayonnaise I am set now for the heatwave! I think we all need a stash of easy, light, quick recipes for when we are busy and especially when the weather is hot. Now is not the time for slow cooked casseroles! I say cool, quick and easy saves the day.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Kentish Oils sent me the Garlic Mayonnaise to try. All opinions and views are my own and this is NOT a sponsored post.

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Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Wow the summer of 2018 has proved to be a scorcher so far. And I have to say I’m loving it! Flinging open the windows and doors and basking in the fresh, warm air. I was born in the Winter, yet I love the Summer sunshine. Because of the heat I have adjusted the way I go about my day. I’ve always been more of a morning person, however the hike in temperatures has got me organised. So I make dinner as early in the day as I can. And this Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart is super easy to make, ready to be eaten at room temperature later in the day.

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Artisan Wigmore Cheese, an award winner:

Wigmore Cheese, the dominant flavour at the heart of this tart is a semi soft, unpasteurised, ewes milk cheese. A handmade, washed curd cheese, with a flavour and texture similar to Camembert and Brie. Yet it has a flavour all of its own, slightly saltier with less of a nasal hit than a fully ripe Brie. Baked in this quiche style tart it’s flavour permeates throughout, balanced beautifully with sweet, softened red bell peppers.

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

Perhaps unusually, I’ve added a subtle hint of anise flavour to the tart with the addition of fennel seeds. Resulting in a Mediterranean taste to this all butter pastry tart. While you may be tempted to buy the pastry, I strongly suggest you try my recipe. It is absolutely foolproof and is consistently good. Since the recipe makes double the amount needed it’s a bonus to freeze half, knowing next time you make this tart all that’s needed is for it to be defrosted overnight in the fridge!

Recipe: Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart serves 6

450g/1lb Butter Shortcrust Pastry – half the quantity of my Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

200g/7oz Wigmore Semi Soft Cheese available from Village Maid Cheese if you are not in the U.K. a great substitute would be Camembert or Brie style cheeses with a soft, edible rind.

3 Red Bell Peppers (400g/14oz sliced de-seeded red pepper)

1tbsp Rapeseed/Canola Oil – I use Kentish Oils

8 Large Free Range Eggs

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1/2tsp Lightly Ground Fennel Seeds

Method: Making the tart crust:

Note – You will need a 25cm x 5cm (10in x 2in) preferably loose bottom round tart tin for this recipe.

  • First of all if making the pastry from scratch chill it in the fridge for 2 hours before using. Especially during this super warm weather. Otherwise defrost ready made pastry in the fridge overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan, 400F, gas mark 6.
  • Lightly flour the worktop and roll out the pastry so that it is slightly bigger than the width and sides of the tart tin.
  • Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the tin.
  • Most importantly do not stretch the pastry. Ease it gently into the tin taking care to press it into the crease between the base and sides.
  • Trim any excess pastry and then dock the base with a fork.
  • Place baking parchment directly on to the pastry and fill with baking beans.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Creating the all butter tart crust.
  • Place the tart tin on to a baking sheet and put into the centre of the preheated oven.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, remove the baking beans and parchment paper, return the tart back to the oven for a further 10 minutes. Once baked, remove and set to one side.
  • Reduce the oven heat to 190C/170C fan, 325F, gas mark 3.

Filling the tart:

  • While the tart case is baking prepare the filling.
  • Remove the seeds and green part from the peppers. Slice lengthways to produce long strips.
  • Pour the oil into a pan over a medium heat. Add the peppers and sauté for 10-15 minutes until slightly softened and reduced in size.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Sautéing the red peppers.
  • Cut up the cheese into bite size chunks. It helps if the cheese is fridge cold before cutting.
  • Into a jug add all 8 eggs, black pepper and fennel seeds. Whisk with a fork to combine.
  • Cover the base of the tart with sautéed peppers.
  • Next add the chunks of cheese, spread evenly around.
  • Finally pour over the seasoned, whisked eggs.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Filling the Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart ready for baking.

Baking the tart:

  • Place the tart into the centre of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • The tart is baked when the top is set and there is no jiggle in the centre.
  • As soon as the Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart is baked remove from the oven and set to one side.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
  • If serving as soon as baked allow the tart to settle for 10 minutes before slicing.
FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart

I love serving this tart when it is warm. At the moment this means room temperature! However if making during a cooler time of the year simply reheat in a medium oven for 10 minutes to lightly warm through.

Store any leftover tart in an airtight container or wrapped in cling film and refrigerate. Eat within 3 days.

Due to the moisture content of the peppers I would advise against freezing.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart you may also like these:

Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart 

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks 

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Cheddar Cheese Thyme Soft Breadsticks

Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

FF Wigmore Cheese Red Pepper Tart
Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

Making pastry and baking during this unusually hot summer may seem like the last thing anyone would want to do. Yet, by mid morning dinner is made. I quite often make my Tangy Lemon Potato Salad at the same time, as it’s absolutely delicious, fridge cold, served alongside with a salad. Also when using the tasty Wigmore Cheese, this recipe only uses half a wheel, leaving plenty for you to enjoy with apples, crackers and a cold glass of wine on a Summer’s evening.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

Village Maid Cheese sent me the Wigmore Cheese to try. All opinions and content are my own and I was not paid to write this post. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

In case you missed my previous post Fresh Basil Topped Slow Roasted Tomatoes I’ll mention again that I love tomatoes. Especially locally grown, British tomatoes that are ripened on the vine and left on the worktop, not in the fridge. Sweet and savoury bursts of Summer on my tongue. Here I have baked them into a layered quiche with fresh basil and two types of cheese. I am thrilled to bring you my Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche.

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

I was inspired by the classic caprese salad of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and fragrant basil to make this savoury tart. Since each element compliments the others so well as a salad the same can be said of this quiche. Layering the separate ingredients within an all butter pastry tart creates a delicious dish. Perfect for lunch, dinner, picnics, packed lunches and buffets. That’s how delicious this quiche is!

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

Because using local, seasonal produce is important to me, as a home cook and Food Blogger, I was delighted when I was offered a box of Sophie Jane cherry tomatoes. Locally grown by Eric Wall a local, specialist grower. The tomatoes I received are ripened on the vine and are grown without the use of pesticides. Most importantly they taste incredible. In fact just like a tomato should taste. Eaten warmed by the sun, after being left on the windowsill, they are sweet with a deeper savoury flavour. Also they weren’t very acidic as some tomatoes can be, especially tinned ones.

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

While British Tomato Fortnight has finished I firmly believe that we should all be eating flavoursome British tomatoes for as long as they are available. Because they taste so good. It really is as simple as that. I have been popping these ruby beauties into my mouth like sweeties. Eating them alongside crackers and cheese and I plan to make more recipes to share with you. All in aid of celebrating the humble tomato.

Recipe: Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche:

You will need a 20cm x 5cm (8” x 2”) tart tin, ideally with a loose bottom, to make this recipe.

A quick note – I successfully doubled all of the quantities and made this quiche in a deeper, wider dish. Baking times need to be adjusted, aside from the initial blind baking. The larger quiche turned out perfectly and would be ideal for feeding a crowd, or a buffet.

500g/1lb 2oz Shortcrust Pastry – I use my recipe for Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry freezing the leftovers

225g/8oz Mozzarella Cheese – drained and with excess water squeezed out

50g/2oz Vintage or Very Mature/Sharp Cheddar – I use Wyke Farms

6 Large Free Range Eggs

225g/8oz Fresh Cherry Tomatoes

12-14 Fresh Basil Leaves – alternatively out of season use 1/2 tsp dried Thyme

1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Pinch of Sea Salt Flakes

Method: Preheat oven to 220C/200C fan, 425F, gas mark 7

  • First of all make the pastry, wrap in cling film and chill for one hour.
  • Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge, unwrap and roll out on a lightly floured surface, so that it will fit the tart tin. See photo top left below.
  • Fold the pastry over the rolling pin, making it easier to transfer.
  • Lower the pastry into the tin, making sure that you don’t stretch it as you do.
  • Press the pastry into the tin so that it fits securely.
  • Run your rolling pin over the tart tin, this will give a clean edge to the pastry.
  • Place the tart tin on to a baking sheet and dock the base with a fork.
  • Now scrunch up some baking parchment and line the pastry tart with it.
  • Next fill with baking beans.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Making the pastry shell for the quiche.
  • Place in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Carefully lift out the baking parchment and baking beans.
  • Return the tart to the oven for 5 minutes further baking.
  • Remove the tart and reduce the oven temperature to 190C/170C fan, 375F, gas mark 5.
  • Line the tart base with basil leaves.
  • Place torn chunks of mozzarella directly on to the basil.
  • Sprinkle over finely grated cheddar and then top with cherry tomatoes.
  • Reserve one egg, whisk the other five adding the black pepper. Pour the eggs into the tart.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Creating layers within the Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
  • Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out small shapes to edge the tart. I used a oak leaf cutter which gives the edge of the quiche a frilly finish.
  • Whisk the remaining egg and brush the underside of each cutout. Stick the pastry cutouts to the edge of the pastry case. You can create a single layer or add extra cutouts to create a layered effect.
  • Brush the pastry edge with egg so that it turns golden when baked.
  • Finally sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the top.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Before and after baking the Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
  • Carefully place the filled quiche into the centre of the oven – remember to check that the heat has been reduced.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes. The quiche is baked when it is a golden colour and there is no wobble in the centre.
  • As soon as the quiche is baked remove from the oven. Place on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before removing from the tin. Take care as the tomatoes will be very hot and juicy.
FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

The beauty of this quiche is that it can be served warm, at room temperature or cold, straight from the fridge!

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche

Because this quiche does not contain meat it is also suitable for vegetarians. Since I have made this twice, I have to say it really holds it’s shape well when cold and would be perfect for taking on picnics. Most of all, when you bake this quiche make sure you share it. Especially as it is so pretty and absolutely yummy!

Make up to 2 days ahead, cool completely, double wrap in cling film and refrigerate. Due to the moisture content of the tomatoes I would not recommend freezing, unlike my Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche which freezes well. Although the pastry case can be made in advance and frozen.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche you may also like these:

Quiche Lorraine 

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Quiche Lorraine, smoked bacon and cheddar cheese savoury tart.

Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Iced Bakewell Tart

FF Cherry Tomato Mozzarella Basil Quiche
Iced Bakewell Tart

During this Summer, which I am hoping will be long and warm, I’m looking forward to creating recipes to share with you. Especially focusing on seasonal, local produce and products. Whether you live here, in Australia, Europe or the United States, I do feel that it’s important to support our local farmers. While some of you may get to visit farmers markets, if like me, it’s difficult for you to get out, take a look online. Since spending a little time researching I’ve found the equivalent of farmers markets online and they deliver! Most of all, if you remember one thing from this post – please keep your tomatoes out of the fridge, it kills their flavour!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing you feast.

Thank you to everyone who follows me on social media and shares their creations with me. I get such a thrill when you make one of my recipes, so keep those pictures and tweets coming. Don’t forget I’m also on Pinterest too.

@sammiefeasting on Pinterest/Twitter/Instagram

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

Winter, the season where stews and casseroles become feasts that fill us with warmth and comfort. Chilli certainly is a giant, teddy bear hug in a bowl. Spiced meat, peppers and beans, cooked gently and slowly, providing a warm, filling dish. Here, the emphasis has been to keep the recipe low fat and healthy. Let me share my Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli.

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

While traditionally Chilli-Con-Carne is made with beef mince, substituting turkey mince would have been the obvious choice. Yet, I wanted, indeed needed a Chilli with texture, such as this Chunky Chilli. Since turkey breast is a naturally low fat meat, using breast steaks provided the ‘bite’ required. Cooked low and slow this dish is as easy to make as it is delicious to eat.

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

Since the meat is seared separately, removed while the onion is sautéed and then added back into the dish, this recipe could easily be made in a slow cooker. Either cooked on the hob or in a slow cooker there are no difficult processes involved in making this Chilli. Simplicity in the kitchen is always welcome during a busy week.

Recipe: Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli serves 4-6

500g/1lb 2oz Turkey Breast Steak

2 tbsp Ground Cumin

1 tbsp Raspeseed Oil (Canola oil) – I use Borderfields

2 Large Onions

4 Bell Peppers

2 x 400g Tins Chopped Tomatoes

2 x 400g Tins Red Kidney Beans rinsed and drained, or 500g cooked red kidney beans

3 tbsp Tomato Purée

1/2 tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1 tsp Chili Flakes – adjust according to taste

2 Cloves Garlic – crushed

1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

3 tsp Corn Flour (corn starch) – I use Doves Farm

Method:

You will need a large heavy bottomed pan for this recipe. A Dutch oven (cast iron casserole dish) is ideal. While the recipe calls for simmering on a hob, alternatively the assembled dish can be left in the oven on a low heat.

  • First of all cut up the turkey breast into bite size chunks. Toss the chunks in the ground cumin so they are all coated in spice.
  • Place a heavy bottomed pan on a medium heated hob. Add half the oil and then when hot place the turkey chunks, spaced evenly apart, into the pan. Brown the meat, turning to ensure each piece is seared in the hot pan. As soon as the meat is seared on all sides remove from the pan on to a clean plate.
  • While the meat is searing prepare the onions. Peel and cut into medium dice (approximately 1.5cm/0.5”).
  • With the meat removed from the pan turn the heat down to low. Tip in the diced onions and add the salt. Sauté on a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Prepare the peppers while the onions are cooking. Wash, de-seed and cut into large dice – 2.5cm/1” pieces.
  • As soon as the onions have started to soften add the seared turkey chunks and the mixed peppers into the pan.

 

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Preparing the Chilli.
  • Add the crushed garlic, chili flakes and black pepper to the pan.
  • Next pour in both tins of chopped tomatoes. Rinse the tins with cold tap water, keeping any tomato juice and fill three quarters full, add this to the pan.
  • Tip in the drained and rinsed kidney beans and add the tomato purée.
  • Stir all of the ingredients together, adding more water if needed. The meat and peppers should be just covered with liquid.
  • Bring to a simmer on the lowest heat, uncovered on the hob for 1.5 – 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Slow cooking the Chilli.
  • The liquid should be reduced by half. Place a lid on the pan if it reduces too quickly.
  • Spoon the corn flour into a small bowl. Add 2-3 tablespoons of cold water and stir to mix.
  • Pour the corn flour slurry into the Chilli and stir immediately to mix.
  • Gently simmer for a further 10 minutes. Stir frequently while the liquid thickens.
FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

To serve ladle the thickened, spicy Chilli into warmed bowls. Fresh homemade bread such as Seeded Cob Loaf, baked tortilla chips or rice all make tasty accompaniments. Also a sprinkle of fresh coriander (cilantro) or parsley, provides the finished dish with a fresh, herb hit.

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli you may also like these:

Winter Warming Vegetable Soup

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Winter Warming Vegetable Soup

Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

FF Healthy Turkey Mixed Pepper Chilli
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Chilli can be enjoyed in the summer as well as in winter. Yet when the weather is cold warming food really adds an extra layer of comfort. It is also a versatile meal. While amounts have been specified in the recipe, adding extra tomatoes, beans or peppers will allow this dish to stretch to feed more people. Since feasting with friends can only improve on how good food tastes.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

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Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

As soon as Winter hits, there is one thing I crave. Soup. It’s warming, almost insulating properties feel like a hug on the inside. Whether it be a smooth, blitzed soup or a chunky textured version, it is my food of choice, seeing me through the short, wind blown days of our coldest season. Today I share with you my Warming Winter Vegetable Soup. Developed specifically to battle cold viruses and yet be thoroughly enjoyable to eat.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

While, to ease sore throats, this soup can be blitzed, the soft, gently cooked vegetables are easily swallowed. Making the most of what was left in the fridge at the end of the week, turned this soup into a five star recipe. Also using frozen vegetables is a good way to bulk out this dish. Adding in anything that will work with the slightly sweet, spicy flavour.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Winter root vegetables have a natural sweetness, more so after the first frosts. While deep green, leafy brassica’s, rich in iron, provide a more meaty, sometimes slightly bitter taste. Together, in this Warming Winter Vegetable soup, the flavours come together and perfectly compliment each other. Spiked with warmth from the chili adding a more lasting warmth.

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup

Since this soup is a comforting and warming, adding freshly sliced mild red chili and spring onions to the top provides a burst of freshness. Almost a zesty burst hits the tongue when warming and cold hits. Not only does the addition of fresh parsley look good, it also provides extra Vitamin C!

Recipe: Winter Warming Vegetable Soup serves 6-8

1tbsp Olive Oil

1 Large Onion

3 Celery Sticks washed and trimmed

1/2tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

2 Leeks trimmed and washed

1 Large Potato

2-3 Large Carrots

100g/4oz Green Beans trimmed (frozen is fine)

1/2 Savoy Cabbage – Kale, sprout tops, other cabbage (except red or white) can be used

Small Swede/Turnip

2tbsp Pearl Barley

4tbsp Lentils – I used orange

2 Garlic Cloves

1tbsp Tomato Puree

Fresh Thyme – approx 1tsp chopped

Vegetable Stock Cube – I use Knorr

Pinch Chili Flakes – depending on preference

1tsp Black Pepper – to taste

Cold Water

Fresh Mild Red Chili and Spring Onions finely sliced to top

Fresh Parsley

Method:

A large, heavy bottomed pan is needed for this recipe.

  • First of all, place the pan on the hob and add the oil.
  • All of the vegetables in this recipe should be cut into small dice, starting with the onions and leeks.
  • Turn the heat to medium, allow the oil to warm, add the chopped leeks and onion. Also add 1/4tsp salt, sauté until softened but not browned.
  • Next add the carrots and celery, again cook until softened.
  • Now add the garlic and fresh thyme. Pour over enough water to cover the vegetables.
  • Cut the cabbage into thin strips and chop the beans into thirds, then add these to the pan. Also prepare both the potato and swede and add to the soup.
  • Finally add the lentils and pearl barley, top the pan up with water so the vegetables are just covered. Crumble in a stock cube and add a good grinding of black pepper. And also the chili flakes to your preference.
  • Bring the soup up to a simmer, place a lid on the pan.
  • Simmer until the root vegetables are tender – approximately 30 minutes.
FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Warming Winter Vegetable Soup topped with fresh chilli, parsley and spring onion.

Serve in warmed bowls with freshly sliced mild chili’s, spring onion and sprigs of parsley. Add warm, crusty bread such as Seeded Cob Loaf to create a hearty meal.

To store, cool the soup completely. Spoon into sealable containers and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Alternatively, place in the freezer and eat within one month.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Warming Winter Vegetable Soup you may also like these:

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Creamy Low Fat Mushroom Soup

Carrot Soup

FF Warming Winter Vegetable Soup
Carrot Soup

Because most soups, including this Warming Winter Vegetable Soup, are easily made and easily stored, making a big batch seems to make good sense. More so in the Winter, when after a long, cold day, comfort is merely moments away. Since frozen soup can be popped from its container into a saucepan over a gentle heat, with the addition of a little extra water and reheated. Most importantly, dinner or lunch is only a little stirring by the stove away.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Who doesn’t love an easy, quick to make, healthy meal? Exactly. I love pasta, mostly for its versatility. Any number of sauces or meals can be made to go with a million varieties of pasta. Where would we be without it? Thank you Italy, you may have invaded Britain, however it’s time to let things go, as you gave us pasta. More specifically the fusilli bronze die pasta used in this Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta ready to serve.

Next time you think of tossing a jar of pesto into pasta for dinner, think again. Since this dish only took 30 minutes to make, it is definitely worth trying. Not only do you get a balanced healthy meal, it is filling, like a proper meal should be. Bite sized pieces of chicken breast, fresh baby spinach wilted into the tomato and cream cheese sauce.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta a filling meal.

If you are cutting down on carbs you may not like my next suggestion. That is, to serve this tasty bowl of goodness with a chunk of baguette, or crusty bread. While not swimming in sauce, there will be some pooled on your plate or bowl. This is where bread is important. Dunking. Using the bread to absorb every last drop of this creamy sauce. Keeping with the low fat theme, there is no reason why the bread should be buttered. In fact there will be a greater absorbency area if left unbutterd. Win win!

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta dinner time!

Food should be enjoyed. Indeed it should be a feast. It should feed more than our tummies, it should feed our soul. Giving thanks before eating is a custom here at home. Yet stopping for a moment to look and smell the food in front of you is also important. Too much food is literally shoved down throats while watching television. I wonder if the taste even has time to register with the brain. Eating with family, while sitting up at a table, not only slows down the rate at which we eat, the entire experience is altogether more pleasurable. Hence – food tastes better when it is shared.

Time to make this delicious dish.

Recipe: Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta serves 4-6 people

500g Diced Chicken Breast  skin off cut into bite size pieces- I use Graig Farm

1tbsp Olive Oil

1 Large Leek – washed and cut into small dice

2 x 400g Chopped Tin Tomatoes plus 1 tin of pasta cooking water

200g Washed Baby Spinach – frozen can be used if out of season

1tbsp Fresh Thyme finely chopped – plus additional Thyme for garnishing the finished dish

140g Philadelphia Cream Cheese – I use full fat, by all means try a lower fat version if you’re confident cooking with it

1tsp Sea Salt  – I use Maldon

Good Grinding of Fresh Black Pepper to taste

450g Fusilli Pasta – bronze die leaves rougher edges on the pasta and so it absorbs more sauce

Method:

  • Place a heavy bottomed pan on to the hob over medium heat. Add the olive oil and allow to heat.
  • At the same time place a large pan of water on a high heat, ready to cook the pasta. When the water is boiling add a teaspoon of sea salt and then the pasta and cook for 8 minutes.
  • Into the other pan add the chopped chicken breast and cook until lightly browned.
  • Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and then add the chopped leek to the pan.
  • Saute the leek until it is softened and then add the cooked chicken back to the pan.
  • Immediately add the 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and use a wooden spatula to scrape the base of the pan clean. Follow by adding the chopped fresh thyme.
  • Next tip the baby spinach into the pan. Don’t worry if it is piled high it will wilt down.
FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta the tomatoes clean the base of the pan.
  • Remove a can full/2-3 ladles of hot pasta water and pour on to the spinach. Be careful as it will be hot.
  • Drain the pasta and tip on to the spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt down, it will release it’s water and make the sauce thinner.
  • Next add the cream cheese to the pan and stir so that it melts into the sauce.
  • Most importantly, taste the sauce. Add a good grinding of fresh black pepper to taste. Additional salt should not be needed as the pasta water used is salty.
  • Sprinkle over fresh Thyme and the dish is ready to be served.
FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta creating the finished dish.

Serve this delicious Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta in bowls.

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta dinner’s served.

Since this dish is ideal to make ahead, it is also perfect for transporting. Ideal for a new family or friend who is unwell. This dish is as perfect to share outside the home as it is with family and friends around the dinner table.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta then you may also like these:

Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Cheesy Vegetable Pasta Bake.

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne

FF Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Chicken and Four Cheese Lasagne

Pasta is such a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Also, once cooked it can very often be frozen as this Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta, Chicken Four Cheese Pasta and Cheesy Vegetable all can be. While cooking from scratch takes barely more than 10 minutes. Pouring over some sauce (recipe coming soon) or the lemon garlic sauce that accompanies the Orzo recipe above. Easy meals are a busy household’s must.

Have fun creating, cooking and baking in your kitchens.

Sammie xx

Please do not copy any part of this post. See my Disclosure Policy for full details.

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Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

Some ingredients, when cooked together, simply bring out the best in each other. As is the case with this Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart. Also, the leek’s subtle onion flavour is enhanced by the crumbled Stilton cheese, in an egg and cream custard base. The nutty pastry crust provides the perfect crunchy texture and flavour. A delightful balance, that is a treat to our tastebuds.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart a delicious combination of flavours.

While the chopped walnuts give the pastry a rustic, wholemeal look, it is, in fact light and crumbly. Adding additional flavour to the finished bake. Likewise, the crumbled Stilton cheese mellows on baking. Providing a salty contrast to the mild egg custard. Surprisingly, the mild onion flavour of the leeks doesn’t get lost in this tart. Rather, it brings everything together and sings on the tastebuds, above the other flavours.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart a feast for the eyes.

Slices of leek are sautéed gently, before placing in the tart. This not only ensures they are soft in the baked tart, but also concentrates the flavour. While baking, the rings separate and rise up through the tart. Also ensuring that each bite has tasty fresh, green leek in it.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart crunchy and creamy.

This tart is perfect for a light lunch, with salad, or as a main meal with a hot, buttered jacket potato. Also, it makes perfect picnic or buffet food, as it can be served at room temperature. The added nutmeg is barely noticeable, yet enhances all of the tart’s flavours. Leave it out and the finished bake tastes as though it is missing something. I encourage you to include it, freshly grated, if possible!

Recipe: Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart serves 4-6

For the pastry

200g/7oz Plain White Flour

50g/2oz Walnuts – finely chopped

1/8tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1/8tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

125g/4.5oz Cold Unsalted Butter

60mls Cold Tap Water

For the filling

100g/4oz Stilton Cheese

1 Large Leek

4 Large Free Range Eggs – plus 1 extra for the egg wash

3tbsp Double Cream

1/4tsp Nutmeg

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:

A loose bottom tart tin that is approximately 25cm wide x 5cm deep or 10″ x 2″ is needed for this recipe.

Making Walnut Pastry Crust

  • First of all, in a large bowl add the flour, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and diced, cold butter. Then using your hands, or a pastry cutter, rub/cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles bread crumbs with pea sized chunks of butter present.
  • Now make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the cold tap water 10mls at a time. Using your hand, fingers bent and shaped like a claw, mix the dough after each addition. Work quickly to avoid the dough warming up and becoming oily. You may not need the full amount of water specified. Stop adding water once the dough comes together to form a rough ball. Set the bowl to one side.
  • Wipe the worktop with a clean, damp cloth. Then place the cling film (approximately the size of a large baking sheet) directly on to the damp surface. It will ‘stick’ and not move around.
  • Finally, tip the walnut pastry dough on to the cling film. Knead the dough lightly into a disc shape. Avoid working the pastry for too long as this will result in a hard, tough, crust.
  • Wrap the pastry disc in the cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or until it is chilled. Making pastry the night before use allows it to chill thoroughly before rolling out.

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

    Making the Walnut Pastry Crust.
  • 10 minutes before rolling out the pastry, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.
  • If you wish, lightly butter your tart tin, I never do. Place the tart tin on to a baking tray and put to one side.
  • Place the chilled pastry on to a clean worktop and roll out evenly, until it is a slightly larger circle than the combined width and depth of the tin. Approximately 30cm/11″ in width.
  • Roll the pastry around the rolling pin and transfer to the tart tin. Allow the pastry to settle into the tin. DO NOT stretch it as it will only shrink while baking.
  • Ensure the tin is fully lined and then trim away any excess pastry.
  • Dock the base of the pastry tart with a fork and then line with baking parchment. Fill the lined tart with baking beans, or ceramic balls and place into the top of the oven.
  • Bake the pastry for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and lift out the baking parchment and beans.
  • Return the tart to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes.

Filling and Baking the Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Preparing the Leek and Stilton filling.
  • While the pastry is baking, prepare the leek. Strip the outer 2 layers, cut off the root end and top, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
  • Cut the leek into whole rings, approximately 1cm deep and the gently sauté in a dry pan over a medium/low heat for 10 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  • Remove the pastry shell from the oven when baked.
  • Carefully transfer the whole leek rings to the tart shell. Add any odd pieces of leek around the whole rings in the tart.
  • Cut the rind away from the Stilton. Now, using a fork, break up the Stilton, on a board, into crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs over the leek  in the tart shell.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6.
FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Preparing the egg custard and decorating the tart.
  • Crack 4 eggs into a large jug. Add the double cream, nutmeg and pepper. Whisk together using a fork, until the mixture is uniform.
  • Pour the egg custard carefully into the pastry tart.
  • Carefully, as the tart is still warm, run a piece of butter around the top perimeter of the tin. This will stop any pastry decorations sticking.
  • Gather together the pastry offcuts. Roll to the thickness of a one pound coin.
  • Use a 1 inch/2.5cm approx. cutter to cut out about 25-30 circles. These will be placed around the edge of the tart.
  • Break an egg into a small bowl, add 1tsp of cream or milk and whisk together. This is the egg wash.
  • Take the first cutout and with a pastry brush, dipped in egg wash, brush both sides of the circle. Place the circle on to the edge of the tart. The centre of the circle should be in contact with the edge of the tart. Continue, using the same egg wash method and placing the 2nd circle so that just overlaps the first disc.
  • Keep going until the whole perimeter of the tart case is covered. I used 22 pastry discs. The number you need will depend on the size of your tart, how much the discs overlap and other variables.
  • Finally, when the decorations are in place, pour any leftover egg wash into the tart. As long as there is room.
  • Place the tart carefully into the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The tart is baked when there is no wobble in the centre, the filling has set and the egg custard is golden.
  • When fully baked remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool before removing from the loose bottom tart tin.
FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Golden Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart

This tart is delicious served warm for lunch or dinner, Also is is very tasty eaten cold or at room temperature, making it ideal for summer picnics and buffets.

It will keep for up to 3 days, stored in a container or, wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge.

If you have enjoyed this recipe For Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart you may also like these:

Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Smoked Bacon Asparagus Quiche

Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Bath Soft Cheese Chilli Tarts.

Quiche Lorraine

FF Walnut Pastry Crust Leek Stilton Tart
Quiche Lorraine

Homemade quiche and tarts taste a million times better than most shop bought varieties available. Seasoning, ingredients and indeed the pastry can all be tailored to our own personal tastes. While I haven’t taken on the challenge of Filo Pastry yet, shortcrust is incredibly easy, see Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry.

Whether served with a jacket potato and salad for a substantial meal, or grabbing a slice to eat whilst on the go, tarts and quiches are easy to make. They are also very satisfying to eat.

Do you have a favourite flavour combination for quiches and tarts?

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun.

Sammie xx

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Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder

While I know that Easter is only a few days away and traditionally lamb is eaten on Easter Sunday, however, this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder is so good, I would happily eat it all year round!

GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder tender, moist and falls off the bone.

By that I really mean whenever good, British lamb is in season. Graig Farm is where I buy our lamb from and I can honestly say it really is the best lamb I have ever eaten. Whether as Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb or this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder.

Absolutely perfect for putting in the oven first thing, whilst, on Easter Sunday you go to church, or take part in an egg hunt. Minimal preparation and then when you come back home the smell, as you walk through the front door, so warm, welcoming and delicious!

GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder makes a delicious meal.

While a whole shoulder of lamb will feed six people generously, if you are cooking for more people, do as I did. I roasted two whole shoulders as I wanted to be guaranteed lots of leftovers. Since I was cooking one Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder it would take no more effort or energy to cook two and I wanted plenty of leftovers for another recipe I had in mind.

 

Also, whenever you are feeding a crowd, this is the perfect roast for feasting on. After slow roasting for 5 hours, you have beautiful, melt in the mouth meat. In fact I pulled our lamb apart using two forks, much like you would for pulled pork. Since the lamb comes clean away from the bone and is so moist. Serve with golden, crunchy roast potatoes or this Leek Colcannon.

GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder so tender it can be pulled apart using forks.

Recipe: One Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder will serve 6 adults

  • Each shoulder of lamb weighs  2.2kg from Graig Farm 
  • One onion, peeled and halved per shoulder.
  • Sprigs of rosemary.
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Optional –  peeled garlic cloves.

Method: Preheat the oven to 155C/140C fan, gas mark 2

  • First of all, place the shoulder of lamb into a roasting tin that just fits.
  • Using a sharp knife make slashes through the skin into the shoulder of lamb.
  • Push small sprigs of rosemary (and garlic, if liked) into the holes.
  • Sprinkle over with sea salt and pepper.
  • Place the onion halves under the lamb.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Two whole lamb shoulders fitted perfectly in my roasting tin.
  • Finally, cover the roasting tin tightly with aluminium foil. Make a folded pleat down the length of the foil and then crimp tightly to the tin. The pleat allows you to pull the foil away from the lamb, so that they don’t touch, it also gives room for steam to circulate as the lamb is slow cooking.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
The pleat in the foil allows for expansion.
  • Place the lamb into the centre of the oven and cook for 5 hours.
  • NOTE: All ovens vary, the cooking time is a guide only,
  • The meat does not need to be basted. The natural fat and juices within the lamb baste it as it slow cooks.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed, remove the lamb from the oven.
  • Remove the foil and check the lamb is cooked by pulling at some of the meat with a fork. If it comes away easily the lamb is cooked.
  • If the lamb is not fork tender, cover again with foil and place back into the oven, checking half hourly until cooked.
  • Once cooked, if you like crispy lamb skin increase the oven temperature to 200C/180C fan, gas mark 6 and place the lamb back into the oven, leaving the foil off. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until you have golden, crispy skin.
GF Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder
Beautifully cooked Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulders.
  • Once cooked remove the lamb from the oven.
  • Take the lamb out of the pan and place on a board, or platter, cover in foil to rest for 30-40 minutes. Enough time to finish the roast potatoes in the oven!
  • To serve, pull the lamb apart into chunks, using 2 forks.
  • Because this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder tastes so mouth-wateringly good, you’ll be back for seconds – so maybe roasting two shoulders of lamb wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all 😉.

Whatever you do this Easter, I’d encourage you to take a moment to think about why we celebrate it – see Important Stuff.

If you have enjoyed this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder you may also like these recipes:

Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

GF Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb
Redcurrant Jelly Glazed Roast Lamb

Leek Colcannon

GF Leek Colcannon
Leek Colcannon

Hot Cross Buns

GF Hot Cross Buns
Homemade Hot Cross Buns.

If you make this Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder from Graig Farm please leave a comment or pop a photo up on Twitter/Instagram. I love seeing what you cook and bake.

Do you have a favourite roast? Or do you struggle to cook a certain roast and you’d like help with it?

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

Graig Farm provided the lamb for this post. All opinions, views, recipe and content are my own. I did not receive payment for this post please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Steak Leek and Ale Pie

Hi, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie has a golden pastry crust, under which are chunks of melting steak and leek sitting in a thick ale gravy. Homemade pie has to be at the top of my comfort food list. Long gone are the light, fresh salads of summer. As soon as Autumn arrives, with it’s blustery gales I want proper, nourishing, hearty food.

I want, I need, this Steak Leek and Ale Pie.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious chunks of steak and leek cooked in a rich ale gravy, topped with homemade pastry - delicious. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious chunks of steak and leek cooked in a rich ale gravy, topped with homemade pastry . 

 

Take a look at that golden crust. It is so inviting, willing you to cut in and discover the melting chunks of steak and leek beneath, sitting in a pool of thick gravy made with the ale. While I know making pastry completely freaks some people out, it really is worth having a go. A recipe for this pastry can be found here.

When you have a little time, maybe at the weekend, I really would encourage you to make your own pastry. While it really isn’t as difficult as some believe and the rewards are very gratifying. Yet, if you cannot bring yourself to make your own pastry, then good quality, shop bought shortcrust or puff pastry will also work very well.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie prefect comfort for cold dark evenings. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie prefect comfort for cold dark evenings. www.feastingisfun.com

Although I made this Steak Leek and Ale Pie for a mid-week meal, it will be replacing the occaisional roast on a Sunday too. It really is that good.

I have to mention the Leek Colcannon a fantastic dish of creamy mashed potatoes, steamed cabbage and sauteed leeks that I made to serve alongside this pie. Amazing!

If you are wondering why leeks feature in both dishes, November heralds the start of the British leek growing season. So keen to use seasonal produce, I came up with these two recipes for the British Leek Growers Association.

Recipe : Makes one Steak Leek and Ale Pie, serves 6

450g/1lb Shortcrust Pastry – to make your own you will need 350g/12oz Plain White Flour, 75g/3oz Butter and 75g/3oz Vegetable shortening – I use Trex

1kg/2lb Good Quality Beef Steak – I used rump, chuck or braising steak would work well

2 Tbsp Butter

3 Leeks

500ml/1 pint Light Ale

2 Bay Leaves

1 tsp Fresh Thyme – halve if using dried

1 Clove of Garlic

2 Tbsp Tomato Puree

1/4 tsp Nutmeg – I always use freshly grated

1 Beef Stock Cube – or I used 1 Knorr beef stockpot

2 Tbsp Flour plus extra for rolling out pastry

Sea Salt – I use Maldon

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Medium Egg whisked with a little water for the egg wash

Method : Please read through before starting

If making your own pastry, make, cover in cling film and place in the fridge to chill.

Cut the steak into good sized chunks - 1.5"
Cut the steak into good sized chunks – 1.5″

Mix 2 Tbsp of flour with 1 tsp of sea salt and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper.

Toss the steak in the seasoned flour.
Toss the steak in the seasoned flour.

Place 2 Tbsp of butter into a large pan and melt over a high heat.

Brown the steak in batches in a hot pan.
Brown the steak in batches in a hot pan.
Place the browned steak in a bowl and set to one side.
Place the browned steak in a bowl and set to one side.

Prepare all 3 leeks by cutting off the tough, dark green tops and root. Starting at the top of the leek cut almost through and down two thirds. Wash the leeks under cold, running water to remove any dirt trapped between the leaves. Shake off any excess water.

Tip : I wash the leeks and leave them to drain upside down, before prepping other meat or vegetables.

Take one large leek.
Take one large leek.
Finely dice the leek.
Finely dice the leek.
Add the diced leek to the pan used for browning the steak. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.
Add the diced leek to the pan used for browning the steak. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over a medium heat.
Pour in the Ale and then, using a wooden spoon scrape all the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Pour in the Ale and then, using a wooden spoon scrape all the crusty, tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Strip the time from its stalk and mince the garlic.
Strip the Thyme from its stalk and mince the garlic.
Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Add an additional 500ml of water.
Add the steak, herbs and garlic back to the pan. Add an additional 500ml of water.
Slice the other 2 leeks into 1" chunks and add to the pan.
Slice the other 2 leeks into 1″ chunks and add to the pan.
Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.
Now add the tomato purée, stock cube and nutmeg.

Bring everything up to a simmer and leave to cook on a medium/low heat, uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring occaisionally.

At the end of the cooking time the beef should be meltingly tender and the ale gravy reduced by half. Check the sauce for seasoning. I found the salt and pepper added to the flour was sufficient, however, adjust if needed.

Remove the steak and leeks, using a slotted spoon and place into a pie dish.
Remove the steak and leeks, using a slotted spoon and place into a pie dish.
Reduce the ale gravy in the pan by half.
Reduce the ale gravy in the pan by half.
Pour the thickened gravy over the pie filling.
Pour the thickened gravy over the pie filling.

Brush the egg wash around the rim of the pie dish. This will enable the pastry to stick to the dish.

Roll out the pastry so that it is 1" wider that the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so it has a neat edge.
Roll out the pastry so that it is 1″ wider that the top of the pie dish. Trim the pastry so it has a neat edge.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie place the pastry on top of the pie dish and crimp.

To crimp I simply pinch between my forefinger and thumb all around the pastry edge. Make 3 slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie brush the pastry with egg wash and cut out decorations from the leftover pastry. Place on the pie and brush with egg wash.
Steak Leek and Ale Pie brush the pastry with egg wash and cut out decorations from the leftover pastry. Place on the pie and brush with egg wash.

Place the Steak Leek and Ale Pie on a baking sheet and place in a preheated (200C/180C fan) oven. Bake for approximately 1 hour. The pie is cooked when the pastry is golden brown and little bubbles of hot gravy or steam are bursting through the slits in the pie.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie beautifully golden, light pastry. www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie beautifully golden, light pastry. www.feastingisfun.com

As as the pie is baked remove from the oven. Serve immediately.

Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious served with Leek Colcannon www.feastingisfun.com
Steak Leek and Ale Pie delicious served with Leek Colcannon www.feastingisfun.com

The leek in this pie lends a delicate onion flavour, which with the ale and steak, perfectly compliment each other. This Steak Leek and Ale Pie was thoroughly enjoyed by all in our house and my very good friend and chief taste tester – who lives 2 doors away!

Also it would make perfect sense to double the quantities and make 2 pies. Since an uncooked pie will freeze beautifully, just ensure it is absolutely cool before double wrapping in cling film and freezing for up to 2 months. Or maybe pass the second pie onto a busy family, new mum, or friends. The gift of a meal, even if there is no ‘special’ reason shows that you care.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Steak Leek And Ale Pie you may also like these:

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

FF Steak Leek and Ale Pie
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

Quiche Lorraine

FF Steak Leek and Ale Pie
Quiche Lorraine

Amazing Apple Pie

FF Steak Leek and Ale Pie
Amazing Apple Pie

Please tell me about your pastry successes, or disasters, I love reading your comments.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie x

Whilst I was provided with most of the ingredients for this recipe all content and opinions are my own. I did not receive payment for this post. No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written consent of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

 

 

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Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

As a family of five, make ahead meals really are helpful when life gets busy. Make the recipe one pot and I am eternally grateful. My Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole ticks both boxes. Bubbling away on the hob, or alternatively in the oven, it’s aroma fills the house with a warm spicy scent. Welcoming you home like a warm hug.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole.

Before we get on with the recipe, I wanted to share my thoughts. Autumn, or Fall as it’s called in the States is my favourite season. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Summer, in fact, I like all the seasons. Much as the glorious, unending sunshine places like California offer, I simply love the change in seasons we enjoy here in England. Read Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

While there is something about, at first, the almost subtle change in weather, usually towards the end of August/beginning of September where I live. The deep, deep green of the leaves on the trees, the rustle as the wind blows through the drying out leaves. Followed by the gorgeous change, through deepest red to fiery orange and a last nod to the daily lowering of the sun in the sky, as the leaves turn yellow. And confetti, like fluttering of the leaves on a blowy day. The ravages of an adorned tree, ripped overnight of its leafy covering, by a violent storm.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole just add Crusty Bread.

Sunshine is always welcome. Especiall on a clear, frosty, day. Also, there is something to be said though for darker, rain & wind filled days, snuggled up on the sofa, the smell of a spicy casserole, gently bubbling away in the oven. And puddings! A must, some may say essential,  during the colder months.

Since first making this dish it has evolved to the final recipe given here. While most of the ingredients are relatively cheap, it is essential to use good quality sausages. Pale, flabby pink sausages will simply disintegrate during the long cooking process. Adding quality pork sausages adds to the overall flavour of the dish. Especially as one packet will feed up to six people.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

You will need a large ( 4 litre) ovenproof casserole dish, or bigger if doubling the recipe to feed a crowd.

Recipe: Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole serves 4 – 6

1 Large Onion – chopped into small dice

1 Aubergine – chopped into 1/2″ cubes

450g/1lb Good Quality Sausages each sausage chopped into 4 pieces – I use Graig Farm Sausages

2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 x 400g tin of baked beans

2 x 400g butter beans – strained & rinsed with cold water

4 individual bulbs of garlic – minced

1 chilli (or 1tsp chilli flakes) finely chopped

200mls of red wine I use Claret( or 100ml Port – any type except Tawny)

2 tbs tomato puree

1/2tsp Celery Seeds

3/4tsp Fennel Seeds

Handful of fresh parsley chopped and added after serving

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to season.

Note: Having made this dish many times, it has never needed the addition of salt.

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4

  • Place the onion, aubergine & sausages in the casserole dish & pour over the red wine or Port.
  • Add both tins of tomatoes, then half fill each tin with cold water, swirl around so that you get all of the tomato juices left inside the tin and pour over the casserole.
  • Next tip in the baked beans and swirl the tin with water as before, pouring into the dish, then add the rinsed butter beans.
  • Add the tomato purée, minced garlic, chilli, celery seeds, fennel seeds and a good grinding of black pepper
  • If needed add more cold water until all the ingredients are just covered with liquid. Making sure there is still a good inch between the liquid and the top of the casserole dish.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Making the casserole.
  • Place the lid (or cover tightly with tin foil) on to the dish and place in the oven.
  • Cook at 180C for 1/2 hour then reduce the heat to 140C/120C fan, gas mark 1.
  • Leave to cook for 3 hours. Check and top up with recently boiled water so that the ingredients are just covered with liquid again.
  • Clamp on the lid (or foil) and return to the oven for 2 more hours. You can repeat the liquid adding throughout the day, the longer this casserole cooks the better it tastes!
  • The Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole will be cooked after 5 1/2 hours.
  • Serve in bowls, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley for fresh, grassy, Vitamin C filled flavour.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole dinner is served.

Finally sit and enjoy eating, chatting, and sharing the food with those you love. Most importantly remember to serve thick slices of bread, ready to dunk into the spicy juices.

Leftovers can be chilled, portioned into individual freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 months.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole you may also like these:

Slow Roasted Cider Pork

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Slow Roasted Cider Pork.

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Chunky Chilli

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Chunky Chilli

 

Great memories are attached to making this meal, while in Devon on holiday. Cooking dinner for our hosts resulted in more people being added to the guest list during the day. Extra beans, tomatoes and wine added, we sat happily around their big oak table, enjoying good food and most importantly, great company. Friendships forged as conversation flowed. Most importantly, a feast to remember.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

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