I am particularly passionate about using the best produce, particularly when cooking for your children. This doesn’t mean the most expensive, however – far from it.
If you stick to using seasonal produce where possible, you will always be giving your children the freshest ingredients. To keep costs down – and make things easy for yourself – just buy fewer ingredients; children’s recipes really don’t need to use a whole larder.
This straightforward chicken pie with fennel recipe is a perfect excuse to make the most of what early spring has to offer. I would encourage using organic or free-range chicken thighs when making this rather than those scary looking supermarket chicken breasts.
N.B If you’re going organic with vegetables, look out for the Soil Association-approved label – these ones are the best.
Chicken Pie with Fennel
Serves 2 adults & 2 Children
Suitable for 9 months plus (Add seasoning after cooking for adults)
- 1 Fennel Bulb
- 25g Plain Flour
- 60g Butter
- 2 Leeks
- 1 Carrot (grated)
- 200ml Vegetable Stock (see below for quick recipe)
- 6 Chicken Thighs (poached- see below and cut into strips)
- Handful of Herbs (Tarragon or Parsley work well)
- 4-5 Medium sized Potato’s
Pre-heat the oven to 190c/170c fan, Gas Mark 5
Finely slice the Fennel and Leeks and cook in 50g of butter until soft, don’t let them colour. Stir in the flour and mix well, gradually add the stock and then bring it to the boil, turn it down to a simmer and cook for 10-15 mins giving it the odd stir. It will reduce and thicken, add the poached Chicken and herbs of your choice and grated Carrot. Take it off the heat and transfer to individual ovenproof dishes or indeed one large one.
Whilst it cools, peel and cut the Potatoes into chunks boil until tender and then mash with the remaining butter.
Cover the Pie mix with Potato and level out using a fork, transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 mins until Golden brown
To Poach the Chicken – Bring a pan of water to a simmer (not a boil as this will make the Chicken tough) add some herbs that you’re using for the pie plus a couple of peppercorns and cook for 15 minutes. To check cut into the chicken, if its still pink submerge in the water again and cook for a few more minutes.
This Vegetable Stock is easy to make and uses the discarded parts of the Vegetables and basic store cupboard ingredients, it can be frozen in batches to use in Soups, Purees, and Risotto amongst others. It will make about 1 litre.
- 1-2 Onions (Roughly Chopped)
- 2 Carrots (Roughly Chopped)
- Leek tops (Washed, Roughly Chopped)
- 1 Celery stalk (Roughly Chopped)
- Outer peeling and tops of the Fennel bulb
- 1/2 tsp Black peppercorns
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Sprigs Thyme
- 3-4 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
Place all the ingredients in a large pot and cover will plenty of cold water and bring it to the boil. Turn it down and simmer for 20-30 minutes, skimming the surface if needed. Strain in a colander. Store in the fridge for a couple of days or alternatively divide in to bags, Tupperware or whatever you have to hand and put in the freezer for when you need it next.