“ Manufacturer:Marks & Spencer / Type: Pie „
When gathering around the dinner table on a weeknight, there is very little my family will actually eat together. My mother is extremely fussy about food, living on an almost vegetarian diet, while my dad is a big meat eater and hates anything remotely green; I'm somewhat in-between, while my older brother, on the odd day he pops round, hates cheese or anything dairy and absolutely loves spicy food. So it is rare indeed that all of us have clean plates, but that's exactly what happened when the tea - sorry, dinner - menu was M&S's own chicken pie.
With our finances the way they are, we don't often go to M&S, maybe once a month to buy a treat like Rum & Raisin ice cream or when there is an offer on, like Buy 2 Meals for £10. Undeniably, this is definitely an M&S product: the gravy is thick and delicious, the meat has a lovely strong scent that filled the kitchen, and the pastry is firm but not too thick as to choke you or seem overbearing compared to the filling - it also has a nice flaky texture which tastes less stodgy than other pies (like Wrights or Sainsbury's own). And of course the meat is in large pieces and a lot of them too - in our house there is inevitably someone who gets a slice of pie with no filling (mum), or a dessert with no cream on the top (mum), or a pasta bake with no actual pasta in (me), but with this pie you always know you'll get at least a bit of meat. We often have it with string beans or mashed potato. There is enough gravy from the pie itself that we don't need to break out the Bisto.
The cooking time for this pie is about 20 minutes in the oven, but we've frozen them before and they take more like 35-40 minutes. Frozen pies still have nice large pieces of succulent meat, but the pastry goes a bit funky, so I would recommend the pie to be eaten from chilled, but it's far from inedible if you desperately need to freeze it.
As for the packaging - so-so, just a name and the M&S logo, but I'm pleased to say it's recyclable and goes out with the other cardboard on Wednesdays. After all, it's what's inside that counts.
We've tried many pies over the years, but my mother won't eat anything greasy, my dad doesn't like gravy that is too watery or salty, and of course my brother won't eat any pie that has cheese on the top. It seems strange to describe a pie with an adjective like 'diplomatic' but surprisingly, that is what this pie is - somehow, it unites all of us faddy eaters with something to fill our hunger. Though, this special quality far from grants this pie diplomatic immunity: the life of this pie is not very long.
Whenever we go out shopping for the day, we normally tend to stop at the marks and spencer in that place to get something quick and easy for dinner that night. Its a treat, and we don't normally go to Marks and Spencer very often. When we do though, the roast chicken pie is a family favourite and something that we get quite often.
Although its marks and spencer, the packaging isn't anything too special. Just a box with the name of the product, the ingredients and the nutritional information, part of the box is see through to check out the product before you buy it. You can buy it in two sizes, the family one that we normally buy will serve 3 people or 4 at a stretch and you can also get an individual size one although I've never gotten this before.
Theres not much preparation at all needed with this product, simply take it out of the box and place it into a preheated oven for around 20 minutes, satisfying and simple at the end of a tiring day. It can also be frozen which makes it even more convenient, so if they are on offer then its worth stocking up!
The actual pie is lovely, and seems like such good quality. At first looks when it comes out of the oven, it just looks like any average pie. Then when you first bite into it, you realise that its not! The pastry is soft and flaky which is very nice when its been warmed up, the filling soaks into the pastry which means that it goes very well with the gravy and chicken, its a great combination of flavours. The pie is filled with good quality, succulent pieces of chicken breast which is soaked in real gravy and some onions are there also, which adds to it. Overall, it tastes really nice and all the flavours combine together really well and the ingredients seem like they are great quality.
The price is around £3.50 for the large pie, which I think is quite reasonable especially when you consider the good quality and that its Marks and Spencer. It works out at just over £1 a head which is good for a quick meal, a takeaway is so much more expensive! Its good with cheap sides, roast potatoes and carrots go really well with it.
At about £3.74 for a pie for 3 people (this is what it states on the box, and it does provide a decent slice of pie for 3 adults or, in my family's case, 2 adults and 2 small children) this is a good value product.
We first ate an M&S roast chicken Pie about 4 years ago. We were very pleased with the quality of the meat and other ingredients. The meat is soaked in delicious gravy and there is fair amount (occasionally a bit too much for my own taste) of onion). The pastry is tasty and holds it contents well. We prefer eating the pie with mashed potato, vegetables and our own gravy.
We have also sampled the smaller, 'individual', sized versions of these pies and they are to be recommended. They probably have a higher pastry to filling ratio and this is no bad thing.
The pies can be oven cooked from chilled or frozen (the latter recommending a cooking time of about 40 minutes).
One criticism is that we have we have sometimes had a pie which has a distinctly orange tinge to it and a taste inconsistent (and a little inferior) to the norm. These rare experiences haven't put us off buying these pies again.