When I was growing up, my mother would have a dish in her frequent weeknight meals rotation that we called “Chicken with chutney and cheese on top”. Catchy title, yes? 😉 I’m not sure where she got the recipe from, but it formed a staple in my childhood. I have taken this as inspiration for today’s recipe, bearing in mind that Christmas is around the corner, and therefore fruit mince is in our cupboards and in our baking. Why not add it to a savoury dish?
So here we are – a retro inspired baked chicken dish topped with oniony fruit mince and melted cheese, and served with roast potatoes and Brussels sprouts. This is such an easy meal to make, it is a literal ‘top the chicken and whack in the oven’ deal. Once again, I have made this recipe adaptable so that it is baby friendly! I have also made this recipe freezer-friendly, so that you can have one night off cooking the week after making this recipe 🙂
- 6-8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 75g dried apricots
- 75g mixed peel
- 100g sultanas
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- Juice of half an orange
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 4-6 potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
- 1 cup Brussels sprouts
- Preheat the oven to 200° Celsius. Spray a heavy bottomed roasting tray with oil.
- Make the fruity topping by placing the apricots, mixed peel, sultanas, garlic, onion, and spices into a food processor and process until it becomes roughly chopped.
- Place the chicken thighs on the roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle over the topping to cover the thighs evenly. Pour over the orange juice and sprinkle over the cheese.
- Add the potatoes and Brussels sprouts to the tray and bake in the oven for approximately 45 mins or until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are golden and crunchy on the outside.
Growing up, my mother’s specialty dish was a hearty roast lamb. It was by far the family favourite, preferred over pork, beef and chicken. I think my mum started cooking it because my father had grown up eating roast lamb every Sunday, cooked by my grandmother. When my grandmother passed away, my mum, her daughter-in-law, kept up the tradition. And of course, it was served with all the great British trimmings – mint sauce, gravy, potatoes, carrots, peas…
I have for you here a reinvention, if you will. I called on my memories of roast lamb and the flavours that it entailed. My pie has potatoes, carrots, mint and peas! Reminiscent of old fashioned family Sunday dinners. A meal for a winter Sunday lunch, for family gathered around. To share a good bottle of red wine, and to spend the afternoon debating answers to the Sunday quiz.
- 1.5 kg lamb shoulder, bone on
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 red onion, cut into chunks
- 4 rashers bacon, diced
- 1 tbs plain flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 2 carrots, cut into thick rounds
- 500g potatoes, washed, peeled and diced into 2 cm chunks
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
- Salt, pepper
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 handful of fresh mint, coarsely chopped
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Heat oil in slow cooker set to ‘sear’ mode (or use heavy bottomed saucepan on stove). Sear lamb until browned all over. Add red onion and bacon and stir.
- Add flour and stir for 1-2 minutes until juices are thickened.
- Add red wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Cook until liquid reduces by half. Transfer lamb to slow cooker.
- Add beef stock, garlic, herbs, tomato paste, carrots, potatoes and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
- Set slow cooker to ‘slow cook’ mode and cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
- Once ready, set slow cooker to ‘sear’ mode again and bubble until liquid thickens. Stir through peas and mint.
- Spray a pie dish with oil and preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
- Spoon the pie filling into the dish and top with the pastry sheet, using a little oil to seal the edges. Prick several holes in the pastry with a fork and brush with beaten egg.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until pastry is golden and puffed. Serve with fresh mint.