If you’re cooking on a budget I often find it good to cook in larger quantities. The only problem with this is that you end up eating the same thing for 5 days. There are however lots of ways you can vary what you do with the same basic recipe. If you’ve made a big Bolognese you can change that into a cottage pie, a lasagna or even a chilli.
I seem to be in a soup mode at the moment so I made another soup. A bit like the one I made the other day. Click here for full recipe The main base was lots of carrots, onions and garlic then cooked with water and chicken legs. After that I removed the legs, stripped the chicken, added a bag of frozen peas and a chopped up head of broccoli, cooked it for 8 mins then whizzed it up then added the chicken. Really nice soup. As always I made far too much so instead of having it just as soup for the next week I thought I’d mix it up a bit. Because I’d blended the soup the consistency was almost sauce like so I decided to make some mash potato and pan fry a chicken breast and re-heat the soup like a sauce.
Once you’ve made the soup and have it the next day your cooking times generally come down a lot. This took me 20 mins from start to finish.
You will need
Left over soup – link
1 Chicken breast
Dried Chilli flakes (optional)
1. Slice the potatoes into 1cm slices as they will cook much quicker this way. Add to a pan, wash in water then add more water to the pan and season with salt. turn on the heat and bring to the boil and it should be done in 12-15 mins.
2. Once the potatoes are boiling, get a frying pan on the heat. Meanwhile grab your chicken breast and at the fattest part slice lengthways part way through to butterfly out the fat part of the fillet. You want to end up so the breast is a nice even thickness. Season with salt, pepper and some chilli flakes. Add a splash of olive oil to the pan, add the chicken and fry for 3 mins. Once it has taken on some colour turn over and put a lid on and turn down. It should cook in about 8 mins depending on the thickness. Make sure not to over cook the chicken. Having the lid on will help to keep it moist but it’s still very easy to over cook.
3. Re-heat some of the soup in the microwave or in a pan and keep it warm. The chicken should be about done so remove from the pan and let it rest 3 mins. While it’s resting drain the potatoes, season with salt and pepper then add butter and a splash of milk. You can also add a dash of extra virgin olive oil if you like. Mash and taste. Add more seasoning if needed.
4. Slice the chicken and serve on the plate with the mash and soup. Add a few more dried chilli flakes if you want a bit of spice!
Ok now so to take this recipe one step further for the next day. Today I have one chicken breast left that I didn’t cook. I also have some left over mash. I never seem to be able to make the right quantity of mash. I always make too much. I think I have sort of irrational fear of not having enough mash and the thought terrifies me. Far better I think to have too much. Leaves you open to exiting things to do with it the next day like making small mash potato snow balls and throwing them at your mates.
If you’ve followed the blog for a while you may remember I did this cool little dish doing a kind of cottage pie idea but with soup. It’s pretty much soup in a bowl, mash on top, add cheese, in oven for 25 mins then serve. So good!
So this idea is based on that but mixed up a little bit. If you are a vegetarian then make the soup without the chicken and use more vegetables (I’ll make a vege soup soon and pop up my recipe for it) Then substitute the chicken strips for slices of Portobello mushrooms.
Ok so for this recipe you will need.
Left over soup
1 Chicken Breast
Mash Potato (either left over or freshly made)
Cheese (parmesan or a nice mature cheddar)
A nice deep bowl that can go in the oven.
1. Slice your chicken breast (or mushrooms). Bring a pan up to a medium high heat. Add a dash of extra virgin olive oil then add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and sear on both sides. Really just 2 mins a side. Remove from the pan and pop on a plate.
2. Now grab your bowl. Put the soup in there to about just under 2/3rd’s full. Make sure the soup is cold at this point. If it’s hot the chicken and mash will sink! Ok so add the soup the add the chicken strips and grate a bit of parmesan over the chicken. Now spoon over the mash so you cover the chicken. Top with some more cheese and a bit more seasoning then pop in the oven on about 170-180°C for 25-30 mins. You want the mash to go a nice golden colour.
That’s pretty much it really. Watch out when you eat it as it will be hotter than the sun! You might need some sort of spoon, knife, fork combination. You could also cut the chicken into more bite size bits after you’ve pan-fried them. Might mean you can eat the whole thing with a spoon! Bit of an experiment this one so it might develop further into something a bit more refined. Cooking it as we speak to I’ll pop some photos up later.