Don’t ever presume that the whole of a dish needs to be slow-cooked. There are many recipes that can be part slow-cooked and then finished off in the oven. The laborious part of the dish can be dealt with by your slow cooker as you go about your daily business. As the ‘Why Don’t You‘ crew always said ‘Go do something less boring instead‘.
Simple Slow Cooked Chicken and Mushroom Pie
You will need:
2 x Chicken Breasts (I use free-range) – cut into cubes of equal size
A good handful of Mushrooms (as many or as little as you like) – chopped
1 x Onion – chopped
2 x Garlic Cloves – crushed
Black Pepper and Dried Thyme (or other herbs) to season
Pastry is also required for after the chicken is slow cooked. This can be home-made or shop bought. I cheated yesterday and topped mine with shop bought puff pastry (not shown). I haven’t yet cracked home-made puff pastry. You will also need a handful of gravy granules to thicken the casserole before oven-cooking.
Put all of the above ingredients (minus the puff pastry and granules!) in a standard slow-cooker (crock pot).
I’m a rough and ready cook – hence I’m not really into measuring exact amounts when cooking for the family. I’d suggest 6 grinds of black pepper and approx. 1 teaspoon (5ml) of herbs. But just go with what tastes right for you. You can always add more after cooking.
Add enough hot water to almost cover the ingredients in the pot. They should not be immersed and definitely not floating in the water. The ingredients will reduce in size as they cook and also will release water of their own, so the fluid will increase gradually. See below for an idea of the amount I added.
Pop the lid on, turn the pot temperature to low and leave for a minimum of 4 hours and up to 8 hours. Because the pie will be finished off in the oven at a high temperature the chicken will be sufficiently cooked even if only slow-cooked for 4 hours on low.
When ready to go in the oven, add a handful of gravy granules to the pot and stir to thicken the liquid. Then pour all of the cooked chicken casserole into an oven proof dish.
Top with your pastry, and cut into the top a couple of air holes so the steam can escape. I brush my pastry with a little olive oil rather than egg. It always seemed a waste of an egg to me.
Pop in a pre-heated oven on high. I have a UK electric fan-oven, so it’s about 200 degrees celsius for me (would this be almost 400 degrees fahrenheit in the US?). The pastry should rise and turn golden brown in approximately 20 minutes.
To serve add loads of veggies!
This dish is one I have been making for 10 years, although I have only been part slow-cooking it for the last 3. It was originally inspired by a Weight Watchers Steak and Ale Pie recipe from their Pure Points Cookbook 2002. (*n.b. there are no affiliate links in this post). It will serve 2 adults and 2 young children, or 2 adults if you like generous portion sizes.
2002 was the year I got married, and I’d piled on the pounds over the previous couple of years, coincidentally since moving in with the Hubby-to-be! I joined Weight Watchers in January 2002 and lost 24lbs in 4 months (well in time for my August nuptials).
(oh the days before digital photography…I’ve had to photo a printed photo…)
*Don’t forget that as tempting as it may be to lift the lid and have a stir or a sniff of the lovely aroma, that everytime you do it will increase cooking time by 20 minutes. Reduce the need to stir by always ensuring that you have stirred well when adding everything initially.
** Please note that I am not a qualified nutritionist or professional cook. My recipes are what I put together at home and all amounts etc… are approximate. What I write is my own experience of cooking the recipe. Ovens and ingredients do vary – just go with it, have fun and apply common sense at all times! Practise makes perfect!