Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Tinkering With The Classics

For ages I've intended to try making some kind of variation on our great favourite, Savoury Mince Crumble, so tonight I got down to it. As the original is beef-based, chicken seemed a good choice and with a bit of thought the rest came quite naturally. I used chicken thigh meat for this dish; I think it works best when the chicken is combined with other ingredients like this, as it generally has more flavour than the white breast meat. Peas were good as a side dish, but you could even throw the frozen peas into the chicken filling too if you want fewer pots to wash. James had a portion pulsed in the processor, with some whole petit pois stirred through after. He ate masses, as you would expect from a baby with - count 'em - two teeth now!

Chicken, Leeks and Bacon with a Crumble Topping

2 leeks, trimmed and sliced into thick 'coins'
400g chicken thigh meat, diced
150g lardons or chopped streaky bacon
fresh thyme

Heat a little oil or butter in a large pan and fry the chicken, leeks and bacon until just cooked through. Mix in the chopped thyme leaves and tip everything into a deep ovenproof dish.

30g plain flour
30g butter
450ml milk

Make a white sauce. I use the all-in-one method; put the cold milk, flour and butter into a saucepan together and bring to the boil, whisking all the time. When it boils, turn the heat down and simmer, still whisking, for a couple of minutes more. Remove from the heat and season the sauce. I don't use salt because of the baby, but one day I might. Pour the sauce over the ingredients already in the dish, mixing to coat, then make the crumble topping.

200g plain flour
100g butter
handful grated cheese
black pepper

Rub the fat into the flour, then stir in the grated cheese. Season with black pepper and tip into the dish, spreading the crumble mixture evenly. Bake for 30 minutes at 180°c The crumble topping should be golden brown. The sauce may bubble up the sides a little, but we never feel that's a bad thing in any sort of crumble.

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