Austerity Chicken with Colin Marshall

Austerity Chicken with Colin Marshall






These are austere times for many families. The ‘tightening of belts’ is squeezing the life out of many of our communities. Minimum wage jobs, zero hours and short-term contracts, flexi-hours; coupled with welfare cuts which has reduced government borrowing while at the same time increasing household debt for poorer families. A million people regularly use food banks and the gulf between the haves and have-nots is increasing at an alarming rate.

Sound familiar? If this applies to you help is at hand (providing you like chicken!) Musician and chef Colin Marshall using one large chicken and some assorted veg created thirteen dinners, enough to feed two people for nearly a week at a total cost of fifteen quid.

Colin hails from Southport shrimping stock. He left school at sixteen to work in a sheet metal factory and later attended university where he read History and Politics, before going on to complete a post-grad at Bristol in Vocational Studies. He became a careers advisor before dropping out himself and living in a squat in Amsterdam for two years. He fell into chefing in his mid-thirties, but music is his real passion and when not working in the kitchen he’s playing and teaching guitar in the area.

He has a deep social conscience and the other week he set himself a challenge to create a week’s worth of nutritious meals for the price of a takeaway. I went along afterwards to interview him.

Colin’s leftover chicken pasties

First make a Béchamel sauce:

  • Melt 15g butter in a saucepan and stir in 15g flour.
  • Cook for approximately 1 minute, until the mixture colours slightly.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and gradually add 300ml of milk, whisking constantly
  • Season with salt and pepper and add a chopped raw leek.
  • Return saucepan to the heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Simmer gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Take off the heat, stir in your cooked leftover chicken and leave to cool.


  • Roll your pastry into circles, put the desired amount of filling down the middle, brush egg-wash around the circumference, bring the edges of your circle to the top and crimp
  • Put the pasties on a baking tray and into a preheated oven (180, gas mark 4) for about 20 – 25 minutes, until the pastry is cooked.

Next month: Seeking out the Thin Places.

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