Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cockerel Cottage Pie

I've blogged about a recipe very similar to this a long while back. However, I think I've improved on the recipe significantly. The chicken is in larger chunks than before (it was shredded in the first iteration), the sauce is creamier and the top is crispy as deep-fried chips.  When I first wrote about this recipe, I called it 'farmers' pie' as per my daughter's request. However, I've since discovered a multitude of recipes that are described as 'farmer's pie'. However none of them are even close to what I have created here, so I have renamed the recipe Cockerel Cottage Pie. The bird I used was not necessarily a cockerel (perhaps it was a hen - determining the sex of a dead, plucked bird ain't easy - nor really necessary in the grand scheme of things), but alliteration is always a nice touch to a name, so cockerel it is. Either way, this recipe hit the spot and was a great use of leftovers. This time, the bird came from the fine folks at Rowe farms.

The chicken was spatchcocked and cooked 'under brick' on day one and being such a large bird, allowed for quite a pile of leftover meat. For day two chicken, it was really quite simple. I made quicky bechamel sauce (flour and butter roux and milk, simmer till thickened) and mixed it with the leftover gravy from the night before. I browned off some mushrooms, and blanched some chopped carrots. The bechamel, the mushrooms, carrots and chunked leftover chicken is all combined in a pie dish. Then some mash potatoes are dolloped on top and a whimsical design is etched into the spuds using the tines of my fork. Into a hot oven for about 15 minutes, followed by about four or five minutes under the broiler and you have a hearty, wholesome dinner. The pie itself had leftovers, so including the stock I made from the bones, I got about four family meals out of single chicken. It suddenly doesn't seem so bad to spend a bit more on a proper bird if you can squeeze this much value from it. There is a rich irony in the fact that the best way to use expensive ingredients, is to treat them like you're poor. Peasant cooking has always found ways to wring gravy from a stone, so I quite like the smug feeling of using posh and expensive organic or naturally-raised birds and probably getting more bang for my buck than a battery raised, six dollar bird from No Frills. Huzzah!

1 comment:

  1. That right there is a hot shot - check your inbox for a tricked out version. ;-)