‘Use it up’ savoury filling

By The Urban Nanna

When we do a fridge clean out, we like to use up anything that’s looking a bit secondhand as quickly as possible so it doesn’t end up becoming food waste. Sometimes we make soup, sometimes it’s frittata, other times we chuck it all into a pot and make a big batch of stock for freezing. But if there’s a decent proportion of green veg like broccoli, beans, snowpeas, kale, or cabbage, we love making a batch of this savoury filling.

This concoction is great in pies, pasta bakes, vol au vents, as a pasta sauce, or even a toasted sandwich filling. You can make it with chicken like we have (sometimes we’ll use all the scrappy bits left over after a chicken roast), but it’s be equally delicious with some chopped up ham, or plenty of flavoursome mushrooms (we used fresh and frozen foraged mushrooms in this batch).


1 large onion, diced

1 leek, chopped (optional)

1 small head of garlic, chopped

1 chicken breast/2 thighs, diced

2 rashers bacon, finely chopped (optional)

Green veg (broccoli florets, broccoli stems, beans, snowpeas, zucchini, kale, cabbage etc), chopped

Some flavoursome mushrooms (optional)

1.5 cups stock

1/2-3/4 cup cream/sour cream/cream cheese

2tbsp cornflour


  1. Sauté onions, garlic & leek in some oil until soft. Set aside.
  2. Fry off bacon until fats come out, then add chook and fry until brown.
  3. Add mushrooms if using. Fry until browned slightly.
  4. Add onions etc back in.
  5. Add stock & cream, bring to the simmer, then stir in cornflour.
  6. Add chopped stems of broccoli/beans.
  7. Once broccoli stems are just bright green, add the tops, plus any other softer green veg (snowpeas, kale, cabbage, zucchini etc) .
  8. Simmer until sauce is thickened and chook is just cooked through. Leaving the broccolini slightly underdone allows you to reheat the filling or pop it in a pie without everything going soggy and yuck.


* Freeze glass jars (yes you can freeze in jars, just don’t overfill them) of this mixture for easy meals in the future. Meal ideas include:

* Creamy chicken pie: spoon savoury filling into a dish and cover it with a bit of puff pastry. Bake on 180C for 20 minutes. Or if you’re adept at making shortcrust pies, do that with this!

* Pasta: cook pasta of choice. Drain. Stir through heated savoury filling. Make a double batch, and you can make….

* Pasta bake: stir some grated cheese and an extra splash of milk or cream to pasta mixed with savoury filling, then spoon into a baking dish. Cover with breadcrumbs mixed with extra grated cheese. Bake 180C covered for 15-20 minutes (til warmed through), then uncovered for 5-10 minutes to let top crust go golden and crispy.

* Vol au vents: spoon savoury filling into vol au vent casings, sprinkle with cheese, bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes, or until golden on top.

* Toasted sandwich: spoon savoury filling into buttered bread, put in jaffle iron (preferable to have on that seals the sides for this filling), and cook u til golden on the outside.

* Dried mushrooms, especially porcini, shiitake and oyster, add a beautiful deep umami flavour, so consider using some of you have them. We had frozen wild mushrooms to add to this mix, but we’ll just as often add crumbled dried shiitake, which you can buy at Asian grocers.

* Did you know you can freeze cream? We do this whenever we just need a bit of fresh cream or a recipe, which means we’ve always got a block or two in the freezer. Same goes with coconut cream!

Permaculture Principle 1: Observe and interact; 3: Obtain a yield; 5: Use and value renewable resources and services; 6: Produce no waste; 8: Integrate rather than segregate; 10: Use and value diversity; 11: Use edges and value the marginal.

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