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A healthy recipe to use up leftover veg, by Uyen Luu

A recipe for healthy chicken and vegetable pie which uses up all the leftover vegetables in your fridge

This simple recipe is a twist on the classic British cottage pie, which uses minced beef.

It is great for getting a fill of great vegetables as well as for using up any leftover vegetables in the fridge. I use lovely organic vegetables from Wholegood. Chicken thighs are usually cheaper yet more delicious and flavoursome, and they don't go tough like the breast does if you happen to overcook it. However, the thighs are secondary in this pie, the main focus is the different colour vegetables.

The secret to most of my cooking is the use of a good quality, tasty premium fish sauce. I add it to the pie filling to aid the umami flavour, making it entirely satisfying. If you use a good quality fish sauce you should not smell it at all, but the savoury flavour is what turns it from something that is good to something wonderful. Fish sauce is fermented anchovies so it’s great to use in Italian cooking too.

It is a good idea to make a few of these if you are a busy mum or dad. Fridge it or freeze for those can't cook/won't cook in the evenings - just sprinkle with cheese and heat in the oven, and you have your own homemade delicious ready meal, to enjoy while curled up in front of the television.

Serves 2


For the pie filling:

250g or 3 free-range chicken thighs, de-boned, skinned if desired, sliced into bite-sized pieces

1/2 onion, diced

75g savoy cabbage, stem removed, sliced into 1cm strips

75g kale, stem removed, sliced

2 inches of leek, sliced into 1cm rings

1 carrot, peeled, sliced into 0.5cm rings

4 button mushrooms

130g butternut squash (or 1 inch of neck), peeled, cut into 1cm cubes

20g parsley, coarsely sliced

2 tbs olive/rapeseed oil

1 tbs premium fish sauce

3 tbs plain flour

400ml chicken stock or water

Salt + pepper to season

A sprinkle of cheddar cheese or similar

For the mash:

400g potato, peeled, sliced and boiled

Splash of milk

25g butter

35g cheddar cheese, grated

Salt + pepper to season


Preheat oven to 180c.

Peel, slice and cook the potatoes in boiling water for a potato mash.

Add oil to a separate medium hot saucepan and sweat off the onions for a few minutes, then brown off the chicken thigh pieces for five minutes.

Add carrots, butternut squash, leek, mushrooms, stir and cook for five minutes. Then add chicken stock or water with 3tbs of plain flour to thicken by stirring the pan to get rid of all the lumps. Season with salt and pepper and premium fish sauce. You can also use either Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce.

Cook and stir for a further five minutes, then add the strips of kale and savoy cabbage, stirring until it wilts and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Mash the potatoes, add a splash of milk, butter and season with salt and pepper.

Fill two bowls or a small pie dish with the chicken and vegetable filling and cover with mashed potato. Top with cheddar cheese (optional) and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Serve as is or with extra helpings of steamed vegetables.

:: Uyen Luu blogs here


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