Chicken Pie; comfort-food, healthy style (gluten free, light & delicious)

I’ll admit to being slightly hungover on Saturday, and as a result was craving something comforting and substantial for dinner. BUT I still wanted it to be healthy, not leaving me feeling heavy and bloated. This spin on a chicken pie was the perfect answer! Swapping the pastry for cauliflower mash means that you don’t lose any of the flavour and satisfaction of a classic chicken pie, but it becomes much lighter, healthier (and is gluten free). We popped a couple of chickens in the oven to roast for a few hours in the morning, left them to cool ready to shred the meat for the pie for that evening, and any spare chicken can be kept in the fridge for salads & lunches during the week. Perfect!

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Ingredients

Pie filling:

  • Approx 500g cooked roast chicken, shredded
  • 1 tsp butter or coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 large celery sticks, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 250g portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 large handfuls frozen peas
  • large handful fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Cauliflower mash:

  • 2 medium cauliflowers, outer leaves removed
  • 15g butter
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • A handful of grated parmesan

Method

Heat the coconut oil or butter in a pan, add the onions and cook for approx 4 minutes until soft but not brown. Add the garlic, celery, carrots and bay leaf, increase the heat, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Finally add the mushrooms and stir to combine.

Add the stock and dried thyme, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and leave to simmer until the liquid has reduced and the vegetables are softened but still retain a little bite.

Remove the bay leaf  and add in the roasted shredded chicken and the peas, stirring for a minute or so just to defrost the peas. Turn off the heat and add the parsley. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and set aside.

Now make the mash. Remove the tough parts of the stalk of the cauliflower then roughly chop into 5cm chunks. Place the butter in the bottom of a large pan with 4 tablespoons of water and top with the cauliflower and garlic cloves.

Cover the pan and steam over a medium heat for around 8 minutes. Check on it to make sure the cauliflower has enough water to steam in, and add a splash more if needed.

Use a knife to check that the cauliflower is soft, then remove the pan from the heat and blend the cauliflower with a hand-held blender until smooth and creamy (or remove and blend in a food processor). Season well. If it’s too sloppy or wet, reheat in a pan, over a low heat, to allow some moisture to evaporate.

Take a large ovenproof pie dish and fill two-thirds full with the chicken mixture.  Top with the cauliflower mash, using a fork to create small ridges over the top (these bits go nice and crispy). Sprinkle over the parmesan.

Bake in the oven at 180°C for approx 30 minutes, until the centre is hot and bubbling and the top is golden brown. Serve with your veg of choice or a crisp green salad.

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