‘Tis the season to spend money… fa-la la-la-laaa…
Is that how the song goes? Because at the tail end of the year, I always find myself a little more cautious with my cash – aside from the usual dinners out and weekend getaways, there are also a raft of birthdays to celebrate, Christmas dinners to attend, and presents to buy for both occasions! However some might well argue that in reality, every season is one to spend, and the tail end of every pay cycle is when we start feeling the pinch…
You can cut back on a lot when things are tight, but in my opinion, eating well should not be one of them… I’m not an advocate of choosing certain diets or cutting particular foods out, I’m all about the balance which makes me a sucker for a bargain and a little obsessed with supermarkets. We love experimenting with cheaper cuts of meat (lamb’s hearts are delicious, don’t you know) or turning basic ingredients into flavoursome and comforting meals… more for less, you might say if you work in the public sector!
I must confess that this recipe is not a Connie Consumes original, the dish itself is one I learnt off a friend and former flatmate who is an excellent cook. This used to be a regular on the menu during our early university days so she may be amused to know that now, some 10 years later, I still make it on a regular basis for midweek dinners and work lunches. You only need a handful of ingredients alongside some pantry staples so you could easily make this for around £5-6. However if you do have an extra quid or two spare, why not throw in some chorizo or olives to make it just that little bit more tasty!
Chicken and Feta Pie (adapted from a friend)
(serves 6 hungry diners or 4 famished ones)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion or 2-3 small shallots, finely chopped (£0.25)
- 500g chicken thighs, diced into 2-3cm pieces (£2.50)
- 1 tin plum tomatoes in juice (£0.25)
- 1 cup frozen spinach (£0.50)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 200g feta/Greek style cheese (£0.75)
- 500g frozen puff pastry (£1.00)
In a large frypan, heat the olive oil and gently fry the onions/shallots until soft.
Add the chicken, season with a dash of salt and pepper, then cook for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. At this stage the chicken doesn’t need to be cooked through, just lightly browned on the outside.
Add the tomatoes and stir through, breaking them up as you go.
Add the sugar, paprika, and spinach, then leave to simmer for around 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. This will give the tomatoes a chance to break down further and the spinach to defrost.
Once the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, take it off the heat and leave to cool.
Preheat your oven to 200°c.
Cut the pastry in half, then roll both blocks into a rectangle approximately 30x40cm in size and 5mm thick. Place one onto a lined baking tray and set the other aside.
Spoon the chicken mixture onto the pastry, leaving a 3-4cm border.
Crumble the feta on top of the chicken mixture.
Lightly wet the border of the base then carefully lay the second pastry sheet on top before sealing and crimping the edges together.
Gently cut slits across the top of the pastry or simply prick holes across it and brush with egg wash if you like, but it’s not necessary, especially since we’re watching those pennies…
Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until the pastry is cooked through and golden brown.
I usually serve it with a salad or some steamed greens on the side, but it tastes just as good on its own… and even cold the next day!
This recipe is shared in collaboration with Paymentsense who challenged me to make something enticing without breaking the bank, but I received no payment for my contribution..
Do you have some favourite dishes which are budget but bursting full of flavour?!