Monday, 14 March 2011

Recipe on Test: Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Chicken Pie, French Style Peas and Carrot Smash

Since my post where I stuck up for Jamie after all the negative criticism surrounding his 30 Minute Meals book, I have become quite obsessed with trying out the recipes from it and pitting myself against the clock, just to see for myself what all the whingeing was about. The latest recipe to be given this treatment is the Chicken Pie dinner, which comes with French Style Peas and Carrot Smash. (page 90 of the book)

Chicken pie for me = comfort food on a grand scale and I wasn't disappointed. But did I do it in 30 minutes? Read on to find out!



Firstly, a confession. The meal comes with a Berries and Cream dessert, which I didn't make, as my husband and children don't like berries and I didn't have any in the fridge - or any cream for that matter, either. As the dessert consists of basically slicing up strawberries and putting them in a bowl with some berries and then sprinkling over a dressing, I figured that this would take about 5 minutes to make. So the aim was to create the chicken pie, peas and carrots in 25 minutes or thereabouts.

Firstly, the pie. The filling was super easy to make. Jamie says to make it with chicken breast but I made mine with diced organic thigh fillets just because everyone here prefers the darker meat. It only takes a little bit of extra cooking time and the chunks of meat in the pie were juicy and tender. Using ready-rolled puff pastry makes this worth it because all you have to do is unravel the pastry from its blue plastic sheet and tuck over the pie filling. The only critisicm I would have is that Jamie says to flour a work surface and then put the pastry on it, and score it to make the diamond effect. I didn't see the point in wasting the flour so scored it lightly once I'd put it over the pie filling. It was quicker and less messy this way, as long as you're careful not to cut all the way through.



The carrots just needed a slice up and then a 15 minute simmer in a pan with some water, olive oil and thyme. Easy. The peas I was a bit less sure about. Simmering frozen peas with sliced little gem lettuce and chicken stock with flour & butter. But it was full of flavour and I ate probably more of them than I should. They also have mint and lemon juice and the children didn't take to these "new peas" but I will definitely make them again.



Problems:
Apart from the extra step with the flour and pastry, I have a small kitchen and found that when cooking this recipe I often lacked the space. I had to keep tidying up (sometimes even washing up) as I went along, which added time to the recipe. I also had to deal with two curious and hungry children while cooking, which added a bit of time on too. And yes I was naughty and didn't get all my ingredients together in the beginning so had to make last second trips to the fridge and to the backs of the cupboards to find things. The whole thing, from flicking on the gas to serving at the table, took 38 minutes (minus pudding of course).

Verdict:
Yes, it took longer than it should have. But the flavours were incredible. The peas in their chickeny, creamy sauce were really good. The pie itself had chunky bits of juicy, tender chicken and the sauce was creamy and aromatic with the spring onions and thyme. It also tasted really light, probably down to the creme fraiche used and not cream. The pastry was crisp and fluffy. The children also love the idea of serving and sharing food at the table, even if it means it is easier and more tempting to have seconds!

It did take longer than stated but I had children, lack of worktop space and rifling around for ingredients to deal with. Plus I used chicken thighs which take a tiny bit longer to cook. I loved it. And you have to admit: a chicken pie to feed six people, with two delicious vegetable sides in 38 minutes from scratch is pretty good going.

Have you made this 30-Minute Meal? How did you get on? Share your comments below!

12 comments:

  1. Great post and test! I guess 38 minutes isn't too bad at all. I have a small kitchen too and often find lack of benchspace a problem! :P

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  2. I am also a HUGE Jamie fan and think that what he's trying to do is wonderful....so I did the same as you...and ended up with the same results! Meals were absolutely delicious but 39 mins for the first one and about 45 for the second. Im not bothered though as I still love Jamie and as I said, the meals were delicious and ones I would definitely make again! Thanks for the post : )

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  3. Love the sound of thoose peas. I think the 30 minutes thing is so dependant on circumstances, you could do it in 30 minutes one time and 45 the next. I dont mind if it runs a bit over providing the food tastes good in the end!

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  4. keep posting like this it’s really very good idea, you are awesome!

    cialis

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  5. I caught this episode (unfortunately it's the only one that I've managed to remember to turn the tv on BEFORE the show finishes) and it looks fabulous. It's great to see how 'normal' people go with tackling his recipes. Looking forward to more of your posts!

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  6. Thanks everyone - I'm really glad you've enjoyed it! :)

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  7. I've used a couple of those recipes and have found them pretty stressful (especially when there are children around!) - I like the end results but the process is tricky when you have to dart back and forwards between one dish and another, doing a bit to this one and then a bit to that one. I also agree about the washing up and necessity of a large kitchen! My husband says he can always tell when I've done a Jamie 30 minute Supper as the kitchen is carnage!

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  8. Hi Kate, thanks for your comment. Yeah it can get messy when you're jumping backwards and forwards from one dish to another as you say, but after you've done one meal a couple of times you find your own short cuts I think. For example Jamie says to dust flour on the worktop to score the pastry - but I always just roll it on straight from the pack onto the top of the pie! A bit less cleaning to do :) But that being said, you do end up using almost every pan in the house! Thanks for the comment.

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  9. I did this one today, including the berries. 40 minutes from setting the kettle on to boil; that included skinning and boning the chicken breasts because the ones I had were part-boned, slicing the veg by hand (it's scarcely slower if you're quick) and having to roll out the pastry because I couldn't get ready-rolled. And I too don't get out all the ingredients first. It's the third time I've done this meal so I don't think I'm ever going to get it below 30 minutes, but the family all love it.

    For the people who say 'but he leaves the kitchen a mess'; the glory of these dishes is that you can come in from work and have them on the table in about the same time as it would take to get a takeaway. Then everyone's fed and happy and you* can clean up at your leisure. (*or, ideally, hubby or teenager).

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  10. Hi Alison, yes, some of his 30-minute meals I don't think you can get down to 30 minutes in real life situations, but 40 minutes or so from the first move in the kitchen to sitting down to eat isn't bad at all considering you're making a 'proper' meal from scratch. Glad you enjoyed it :)

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  11. Hello!

    Looks great! Mine took a bit longer at 55 minutes!
    See what you think of mine at www.emvthem.com

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  12. I reckon I coul do it in 10 minutes.

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