This recipe is an adaptation of a lovely recipe blogged recently by Cooking up the Pantry. The original recipe does not include the green chillies and olives used here and was gluten free which this is not. If you are looking for a gluten free recipe head on over and visit Cooking up the Pantry . Many thanks for the inspiration – great food to put on the table.
Put the oven on to warm at about 190°C . Take one large leek or two smaller ones and slice into rings. Push out the rings so that they seperate and wash under cold running water. It is important to wash leeks well as soil can get trapped between their layers as the plant grows. Put a large knob of butter into a pan on a low heat and then add the leeks. Cook for about ten minutes until tender. Once cooked add a third of a cup of plain flour and stir over the heat for two minutes. Pour in two cups of chicken stock – preferably homemade but otherwise made up from stock powder or using commercial liquid stock. I prefer homemade because then I know exactly what went in it. If I have to use a commercial product I use Massals powders as they have no meat content but the vegetable and spice profile mimics chicken flavour.
To the leek mixture add about 500g of cooked chicken chopped into pieces, a deseeded and finely chopped chilli, two finely chopped cloves of garlic and a handful of chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley. Take off the heat and spread in a heat proof casserole dish. I added Kalamata olives to half of the dish as I love the flavour hits that they provide but my son does not! Put to one side.
Either use some left over mashed potato or, as I did here, start from scratch and steam some potatoes. I love it when I can go out into my winter garden and find food – today it was potatoes that I had not yet harvested! Once cooked mash well and add a little salt and pepper.
Take about 500g of mashed potato and add 100g of chopped butter, 1/4 cup of plain flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder (I sifted the flour and baking powder together on top of the potato). Then using hands gently work the potato mixture together into a soft dough. Put the dough on to a floured board and press out until about 1/2cm thick. Use a scone cutter to cut out potato rings and place them on top of the leek and chicken mixture. Left over potato can be pulled back together into a ball and pressed out again. Once the casserole is covered any extra potato can be shaped into more rounds and placed on a buttered tray. I sprinkled the ones I made with finely grated cheese and smokey paprika. Place the trays in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the potato crust is crispy and golden. The free standing potato rounds may take a little less time to cook but I put the casserole in first and then used up the extra so that they came out of the oven at about the same time.
Serve with steamed vegetables that put colour on the plate – dark leafy greens, beans, carrot sticks, sweet corn – choose from your favourites and what is available in your refrigerator at the time. For us it was Brussel sprouts and green beans left from some bought yesterday to go with dinner last night. Buying in small quantities and planning how we use them reduces food waste and ensures that vegetables are as fresh as possible but we also have to be realistic about how often we can shop.
Set the table and serve up – food on the table! Enjoy