Chicken and apple pie topped with Colcannon

Colcannon is a lovely Irish potato, cabbage and spring onion dish, it’s used here as a topping for chicken which has been cooked with cider, apples and carrots. A meal in itself, however you could add a few sprouts or other greens if you wish. You can use apple juice instead of the cider try to make it a tart one otherwise the dish might be too sweet.



1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, sliced
450 g (1 lb) skinless boneless chicken breasts (fillets), cut into chunks
3 carrots, thickly sliced
240 ml (8 fl oz) chicken stock
240 ml (8 fl oz) dry cider
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tsp dried tarragon
2 dessert apples, thickly sliced
1 tbsp cornflour
salt and pepper

Colcannon topping
700 g (1 lb 9 oz) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks I used King Edward
200 g (7 oz) Savoy cabbage, shredded
5 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
25 g (1 oz) butter
4 spring onions, finely chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large,frying pan. Add the onion and cook over for 5 minutes over a low heat or until softened, don’t burn them, a little colour is ok.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan and cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until it is no longer pink, then add in the carrots. Give it all another minute for the carrots to take on some flavour.
  3. Mix together  the stock, cider, mustard and tarragon, and pour into the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in the apples cover and cook for a another 10 minutes or until the chicken and carrots are tender, the apples should be softened but still hold their shape.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes or until tender. In a separate pan boil the cabbage for 4–5 minutes or until just tender but not soft; then drain well.
  5. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Add the milk and butter, and mash until smooth. Stir in the cabbage and spring onions, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken, apples and vegetables from the liquid and place into a 1.7 litre (3 pint) ovenproof dish leaving the liquid in the pan. Put to one side. Preheat the grill to high.
  7. Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp cold water, stir into the cooking liquid and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and pour over the chicken mixture.
  8. Pile the potato and cabbage topping over the chicken mixture, spreading it evenly to cover. Place under the grill and cook for 4–5 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.