Recipe: Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pasta with Spring Onions

There are so many aspects of a roast chicken supper that I like. That the golden roasted bird with herbs, lemon and butter pairs fantastically well with dauphinoise potatoes and is a real joy to eat is of course number one. But it’s also extremely satisfying that I can make stock from the bones to use for soup or stews. And that I can use leftovers for both sandwiches and (at least) another supper! You really can stretch a chicken quite far, especially if you’re frugal with the leftovers and use with pasta, as I explained in this post.

Like that recipe, this one came about in the usual manner; while creating a dish using leftover chicken and what else I had to hand at that time. In this case mushrooms and spring onions. The result, so good I wanted to share it with the world!

Creamy chicken and mushrooms pasta with spring onions, serves 2

250 g spaghetti 

100 g chestnut mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp butter

1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped

150 ml cream

1 tbsp lemon juice

1-2 tbsp tomato paste

150 g leftover roast chicken, torn into bite size pieces

3 spring onions, sliced  

approx 100 ml pasta water 

salt and pepper

grated parmesan

Cook the spaghetti al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the mushrooms until golden brown on medium-high heat. Season. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. After a minute or so add the cream and stir while it thickens. Add lemon juice and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the chicken and half of the spring onions. Add the cooked pasta and some pasta water and using tongs or a wooden fork, move the pasta so the sauce thickens. Once each strand of spaghetti has a nice coating of sauce remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and peppar. Add grated parmesan and the remaining spring onion and serve.

Chicken a’la king, my version

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When sitting next to the same person all day every day at work, you come to know them quite well. Ria, who I sit next do, and I share most things, including recipes. One day when I found myself with a lot of leftover roast chicken she suggested I’d make chicken a’la king. Although I know it is a classic dish I had actually never eaten it before, or made it. So I got a quick run through of the recipe and added my own little touches. The result, a creamy lovely sauce with chicken, mushrooms and peppers served with pasta or rice. I have no idea if it actually resembles a proper chicken a’la king, but at least it was really tasty!

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According to Ria the original recipe contains sherry but I didn’t have any at hand and added a splash of whisky instead.

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My chicken a’la king, serves 2

100 g chestnut mushrooms, cut into quarters

1 red pepper, cut into pieces

1 tbsp oil for frying

2 large chicken breasts, already cooked and cut into cubes (alternatively start the recipe by frying raw cubed raw chicken) 

250 ml cream

1 tbsp whisky

2 tsp sambal oelek

a splash of concentrated chicken stock

1 tbsp ketchup

1 tbsp maizena (or other thickening agent)

salt, white pepper

a handful chopped parsley to serve

Fry the mushrooms and peppers in oil until they’ve got some colour, about 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan and fry for another minute. Add the cream and whisky and bring to the boil. Season to taste with sambal oelek, stock and ketchup. Add the maizena if the sauce needs thickening. Cook for another few minutes to thicken. Season with salt and pepper, scatter with parsley and serve with pasta or rice. 

Mexican corn salad

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We had gorgeous weather here last weekend. I made the most of it and sat outside bronzing up and reading, changing between that week’s Stylist, Jo Nesbo’s latest crime novel (read it!) and the latest issues of Bon Appetit and Delicious Magazine

At the same time I was contemplating the best way to jazz up some leftovers and then suddenly I literally saw the answer in front of me; this Mexican corn salad in Bon Appetit’s grilling issue. I had everything at home (not that it requires that many ingredients) and made it the same evening, warming up some left over pork to go with it. And OMG, the salad was amazing! The sweet and slightly smoky corn from the barbecue paired with salty cheese, fresh tangy lime juice, a hint of heat from cayenne and a little bit of mayonnaise for creaminess, this is the ultimate companion to any barbecued meats. 

Do try this at home!

Mexican corn salad, serves 4

Adapted from Bon Appetit

4 ears of corn

3 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/8 tsp ground paprika

a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

about 55 g grated parmesan

2 tbsp chopped coriander + more for serving

salt and black pepper

Preparation

Prepare grill for medium heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 8–10 minutes; let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cobs and transfer to a medium bowl.
Whisk mayonnaise, lime juice, paprika, cayenne, cheese and coriander in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add corn and toss to combine. Top with more cheese and coriander.

Crispy gnocchi with lardons, rocket and pecorino

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Since I moved to London five years ago I have developed my food skills a lot. I am a better cook and I think even more about food than I did before, which I actually thought was impossible.

And because I am older and also have adopted the British ways a little, I do what I can not to waste food.

I don’t rely on use-by-dates, I use my nose and eyes instead. I utilise the freezer a lot, and plan my meals according to what I have in my fridge that needs to be used up. In fact, I find it so satisfying to use up things I have at hand to create a nice meal, that I sometimes prefer that to trying new exciting recipes. It is hands on problem solving, and very gratifying.

This dish is all about using up leftovers but it is also a very tasty way of doing so.

Crispy gnocchi with lardons, rocket and pecorino, serves 1-2

1/2 batch left over gnocchi

100-125 g lardons, finely chopped

a decent knob of butter

salt, pepper

1-2 handfuls rocket

grated pecorino for serving

Fry the lardons crispy on medium heat in a frying pan. Transfer to a plate and add the butter to the fat in the pan. Fry the gnocchi crispy on both sides and add the lardons back to the pan. Add the rocket and let it wilt. Season well. Plate and serve with grated pecorino.