chicken, dinner, easy, Food blog, Uncategorized

Warming Recipes for Autumn

With leaves changing from lush green to burnished gold and silky conkers litter the ground, I can’t help but look forward to cosy nights in with hearty, comforting recipes to fill my belly as I countdown to Christmas. When the weather turns cold, my birthday month (September) is over and the mornings and evenings get darker, all I want to eat in the evening is a bowl or plate of something comforting.

A warming dinner can banish the cold and feel familiar and nourishing. My favourite things to eat at this time of the year are pies, stews and soups; the kinds of recipes to cook long, low and slow. The scent gradually spreads throughout the house, tempting and delicious, and I count down the minutes until the meal is ready.

My favourite meals are not only warm but rich, full of spices and cooked with love. I’ve added two recipes below, a spicy, smoky chilli and a hearty chunky chicken pie.

Chunky Chicken and Mushroom Pie

With a rich gravy, chunks of chicken and earthy mushrooms, this is my ultimate chicken pie to come home to on cold nights. I have cheated slightly and used ready-made pastry here, as it is much quicker, especially after work. It also means it’s much quicker to get to the end result – which is a very tasty one!

Serves 4, cooking time 1 hour


3 chicken breasts
300g chestnut mushrooms
½ cup of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 30 mins
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
chicken stock pot or stock cube
small bunch of thyme, leaves only
1 tsp nutmeg
salt & pepper
1 pack of ready to roll puff pastry



  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚
  2. Cut the chicken into large chunks, slice the mushrooms roughly. Remove the porcini from their soaking liquid, and chop. Keep the soaking liquid.
  3. Using the porcini soaking liquid and stock cube or pot, mix in boiling water to make ½ pint of stock.
  4. Fry the chicken in the olive oil to brown the edges.
  5. Mix in the mushrooms and porcini. Cook for a further 5 mins.
  6. Coat in the flour and mix in well.
  7. Add the stock, nutmeg and thyme. Cook for a further 15 mins or until the sauce has thickened to gravy consistency.
  8. Roll out the pastry just larger than your pie dish.
  9. Add the filling to the dish, and top with the pastry. Fold over or trim off the edges of the pastry. Cut a small hole in the centre to allow steam to escape.
  10. Optional – paint with milk to give a shiny finish to the pastry.
  11. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until the pastry is risen and golden.


Smoky Chilli con Carne

Spicy has always been one of my favourites, and this recipe is a fail safe way to cheer me up and warm me up on a cold night. The ancho chilli adds extra smokiness and spice, and while it’s not essential to making a chilli con carne, it does make a good one! This recipe works equally well for beef mince, Quorn, beans or vegetables – the flavour is delicious with any option!

Serves 4, cooking time 40-50 mins


500g beef mince
2 peppers (red, yellow or green)
1 clove garlic
1-2 fresh chillies (optional)
beef stock pot or stock cube
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
Tin of kidney or pinto beans
1 dried ancho chilli, soaked according to the packet instructions
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 squares dark chocolate
Salt & pepper


  1. Roughly chop the peppers, peel the garlic and finely chop the chillies if using. Drain the ancho chilli and finely chop.
  2. Fry the mince until browned, mix well to break it up into small pieces.
  3. Add the peppers, garlic, ancho chilli and chillies, if using.
  4. Add the tomatoes and stock cube or pot. Rinse the tomato tin with cold water and add in.
  5. Add the beans, spices and chocolate and mix well.
  6. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 mins – 1 hour – the longer it cooks, the better the flavour.
  7. Serve with rice and grated cheese for an indulgent treat.


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