Mouthwatering mains (con’t)

Red wine chicken and field mushroom pies
2 chicken breasts (on the bone)
Any or all of these stock flavourings: 1 small carrot, ? onion, 2 bashed cloves garlic, 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs thyme,
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
75g butter
5 large field or Portobello mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
? teaspoon salt
1/3 cup plain flour
1 ? cups red wine
Black pepper
3 sheets store-bought frozen puff pastry, defrosted
1 egg, beaten

Place the chicken breasts in a saucepan with the stock flavourings and cover generously with water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the stock and, once it is cool, discard the skin and bones and tear the meet into bite-sized chunks. Strain and reserve the stock.
Gently cook the onion and garlic in the butter in a saucepan and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are cooked through and just starting to brown. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, cook for another minute, then stir in 1 ? cups of the chicken poaching stock along with the red wine. Boil, stirring, until the sauce is smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. Stir in the chicken meat and spoon into small pie dishes, ramekins or 200ml-capacity ovenproof bowls.
Cut 1cm wide strips of pastry from 1 sheet and, dampening their undersides, use them to make a ring around the rim of each dish, overlapping any joins. Cut the remaining pastry to make circular lids to fit. Dampen each one around the edge and press it firmly onto the pastry-edged rim. Cut a steam vent into the centre of each lid, then brush with beaten egg and bake on a baking tray at 200 ?C for 20 minutes.

Pea and asparagus soup with goat?s cheese croutons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
? teaspoon salt, or to tast
2 large floury potatoes such as agria, peeled and chopped in chunks
1 ? cups peas (fresh or frozen)
12 asparagus spears, chopped, tips reserved
3 cups good vegetable or chicken stock
4 long croutons
2 tablespoons mashed goat?s feta

Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan, add the onion, garlic and salt and cook until the onion is soft. Add the potatoes, peas, asparagus and stock and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are very tender. Puree until smooth in a food processor and season with salt to taste. Meanwhile, steam the reserved asparagus tips for 4 minutes. Add to the soup and reheat until piping hot. Spread some mashed goat?s feta on each crouton. Ladle the soup into bowls and place a crouton in each bowl.
Serves 4.

These recipes are from New Home Cooking by Laurie Black. With gorgeous pictures and fantastic presentation, this book has the look of a coffee table classic with the contents of a useful how-to manual easily understood by anyone in the kitchen.
RRP $29.95 but only $26.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop