It was one of my foodie dreams for 2012 to have quick and fabulous dinners thanks to Jamie Oliver’s Meals in Minutes: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast. Ironically, it took me a while to find time to really sit down with the cookbook and do some meal planning.
I thought the safest dinner to make that both Reg and I would enjoy would be his chicken pot pie with carrot smash and peas for dinner.
I have to admit, the layout of this book is freakin’ intimidating. No real white space, lots of text that I thought would be a nightmare. How relieved I was to find out that Jamie Oliver writes the way I think: I don’t care what I have to do later, what do I have to do next?
The text is written literally in the order of how you make the entire meal. It is not divided into different recipes when it comes to the method. Which for me, worked (as Jamie would say) brilliantly! It removed so much stress, I could not believe it.
As a result though, re-writing the recipe is kind of impossible but I will go through the basic steps.
First, I browned chicken strips. Then, like he always does on his show Jamie’s Meals in Minutes, I got out my food processor! And filled my kettle and got it boiling and turned the oven to 400F.
I really did not think that using the food processor would make that much difference by allowing it to do all that chopping but they key here was not to just use it for the pot pie ingredients, I also used it for the carrots and the the peas.
I added the flour so everything would turn into a sauce. For flavour you add some Dijon mustard.
For creaminess a bit of whipping cream and, to turn it into a sauce, some chicken broth.
I was not convinced that there would be enough flavour so I did the British proud and added some Lea & Perrins’ Worcestershire Sauce.
It looked beautiful and I added some fresh herbs like Jamie likes to do too.
I only made half the recipe so I could make individual pot pies in ramekins which I topped with some scored puff pastry. I put them in the oven while I made the rest of the meal.
The food processor made making the carrot smash so easy and fast, as did the boiling water all ready to go to let them braise.
I almost did not make the peas because it seemed a little weird to make them with lettuce but with my food processor already out, I went for it. You first make a gravy with butter and flour, adding chicken broth. Then throw in the peas with mint (which I omitted) and finish with a “squeeze of lemon”.
The Foodie Results
We loved the veggies! They were perfect and very impressive. The pot pie? Boring. A little too mushroom-y and not a lot of flavour. Plus, despite a full plate, we ended up being hungry!
I omitted the dessert and made this in around 45 minutes which, for me, is impressive. I am not the fastest person in the kitchen. Would I make it again? The veggies… yes. The pot pie? No way.
Piri Piri Chicken
The next night I also made Jamie’s Piri Piri chicken dinner. It looked so simple, easy and fast I could not resist. Sadly, it was so very flat. Yes, there were lots of amazing spices but the sauce ended up so thin and meager.
For dinner the next evening I took the leftovers and sieved out the thin “sauce” and turned it into a real one using mushrooms, shallots, garlic, white wine… I thickened it up with a cornstarch slurry, chopped up the peppers and chicken and tossed it with pasta. Now THAT had flavour! In fact, it was so good, I am going to make my own easier-version of it and put it up here one day because we fell in love with it.
So I continue to struggle with simple and fast dishes. They continuously leave us bored. I was really hoping Jamie would come through for me but I just find a lot of his recipes lacking which is so sad because I adore him!
The quest for easy but delicious weeknight meals continues…