We participated in a potluck this past new year’s eve and my plan was to make a Shepherd’s Pie with minced mutton. As luck would have it, my favourite source for meats was out of minced meat and only minced chicken was available.
Minced chicken, in my experience, is usually quite tasteless, has a rubbery texture, looks pale and watery, and isn’t something I usually like working with, but there appeared to be no other choice, considering I don’t like the hygiene at the local outlet where we live.
I experimented with a slightly different technique of cooking the minced chicken, and it turned out to be quite succulent with an excellent texture that was even better than minced mutton, even if I do say so myself. I’ll leave you to judge when you try this method.
- For the chicken
- Minced chicken, 1 kilo
- Garlic powder, 2 tbsp
- Onion powder, 2 tbsp
- Grind into a fine powder
- Whole peppercorns, 1 tbsp
- Star anise, 1 whole piece
- Salt to taste
- For the potato topping
- Potatoes, 1 kilo boiled and peeled
- Butter, 75 gm
- Milk, 100 ml
- Cheese, 50 gm
- Salt to taste
- Whole wheat flour, 50 – 75 gm
- Cooking oil, 3 – 4 tbsp
- Pre Prep
- Mix all the spices and salt into the minced chicken and marinate overnight.
- Pass the boiled and peeled potatoes through a fine strainer. Heat a little milk, season it and add the butter to the milk. When it’s melted, add the lot to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Reserve.
- In a pan, heat some oil, add the whole wheat flour and cook it on medium heat till it’s a deep brown, but take care it doesn’t burn. A sort of roux if you will.
- To this mixture, add the minced chicken, and mix well, stirring till the lot is cooked. Takes about 10 minutes.
- Pour the cooked minced chicken into a large dish, spreading it across the bottom and top it with potatoes, spreading them across the top. Reserve until it’s time to serve.
- When serving
- Heat in a microwave for about 6 to 10 minutes to heat the whole dish through.
- Pre-heat an oven to the maximum temperature. Turn on the fan if it has one.
- Score lines on top of the potatoes with a fork
- Brush the top with some melted butter.
- Pop it into the oven until the top has browned.
- If you’re not up to passing the potatoes through a strainer/channi, then just mash them with a work. The result isn’t as nice, but it saves time.
- Adjust all the seasonings and spices as you wish.
- Use fresh garlic and onions if you like.
- Use more cheese and butter in the mashed potatoes if you wish.
- Serve with a tangy salad and that’s all you’ll need for dinner.
- Use any leftover chicken mixture or make it especially if you wish for grilled sandwiches, samosa, pie or open tart filling.
- I forgot to score the top with a fork. As you see, it isn’t as nicely browned as it could have been. When you score it, you’ll see faster and better browning.