“ Manufacturer: Sainsbury's / Food Type: Pie „
My boyfriend, when he comes to stop at my flat can be a real pain to feed. He is getting better of late but the list of things he doesn't like is far greater than the things he actually does! One of our projects though is to stop him being stuck in the mud where food is concerned and to try out different things...which he does and after a few months of my perserverence I now have him eating curries and things!
However from time to time, although he loves all the foods we have been eating lately he does relapse and want plain food like pie and chips. Pies are a huge pain for us as he doesn't like onions or mushrooms or anything within them and just wants a plain meat pie which is why the other day he treated us to this one...as he loves it!
The box the pie comes in is mainly orange with the whole of the front of the box being covered with a photograph of the baked pie on it and we are also told that it is Sainsbury's Deep Fill Chicken & Gravy Pie 'Tender pieces of chicken breast in a rich gravy topped with a puff pastry lid. Ready to bake for light and crispy pastry' and that it serves 4 people and to keep and cook it from frozen. Other information on the back of the box includes ingredients and allergy advice being given, a full nutritional chart and cooking instructions are listed (70 minutes from frozen in the oven in the silver foil tray it comes in should do it), the weight is stated which is 800g (and the only size I am aware that this is available to purchase in by the way) and contact details for Sainsburys are given. Nice enough, informative packaging this is.
The Pie Itself:
When I pulled this out of the box I was really impressed with the large, round size of it and particulary that it is really deep and heavy and quality looking! As I stated earlier you simply cook this in an oven, from frozen in around 70 minutes (no glazing is required by the way with egg or milk) and when cooked it looks risen due to the puff pastry lid and golden in colour and thats it, it is ready to serve with whatever else you want to eat it with!
Now I ate this with my boyfriend who as I have already stated loves this pie (usually, though he wasn't so keen on it this time around!), my flatmate/bestmate and of course me and we wern't that impressed with it for the money it cost to be perfectly honest with you.
The pie looked nice enough with its flaky lid and crimped edges giving it a homemade look and it smelt lovely of pastry and chicken. It was easy to cut up and really did give 4 very generous portions. The pastry was delicious with the base and the side of it tasting of slightly buttery pastry and the puff part being crispy and slightly messy to the top of it. Inside of that however you get lots of filling which sounds promising till when you really look at it the majority of that filling is thick rich, chicken gravy which to be fair is tasty enough and lots of small chunks of what appears to be breast of chicken. However for us although the gravy didn't make any of the pastry soggy there was just so much of it and the chicken, again although plentiful was tiny chunks so you couldn't get the maximum impact of flavour from it though it was all very well seasoned.
Although this does contain onions, that must just be really fine and in the gravy cos we never spotted any and it really was simply a chicken pie really.
I can't argue with the quality of this and it is nice enough and the best bit is the yummy pastry however for us just too deep filled with gravy and not enough chicken to get your teeth really into! Not bad though!
This pie is only available in Sainsburys stores costing £3.00 a pie though at the time of writing this review this is on offer with two pies costing £5.00.
PRICE: £1.47 for a single-serving 235g pie
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per pie):
Total sugars: 1.7g
(of which saturates): 13.6g
(of which mono unsaturates): 12.7g
(of which polyunsaturates): 6.6g
Chicken (47%), water, onion, natural chicken juices, carrot, tomato puree, cornflour, molasses, salt, rapeseed oil, black pepper, malted barley extract, thyme, rosemary, wheat flour, palm oil, baking powder, mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids
Contains egg, wheat gluten and barley gluten
Although every care has been taken to remove bones, some may remain
Sainsbury's Chicken & Gravy Pies are to be found in the chilled foods section of the supermarket and they come in three sizes.....single serving, which is what I'm reviewing here, a serves 2 to 3 size and a serves 5 to 6 family size.
The pie comes in a deep box of various browns and oranges in colour and has an image of a delicious-looking serving of the pie on three of its sides. On another side of the box are the heating instructions, and on the rear there is nutritional information, ingredients, dietary/allergy advice, storage & freezing information, recycling advice for the packaging, and Sainsbury's quality claim together with their contact details.
Though it's my belief these pies - due to being pre-cooked - can be heated in the microwave, there is nothing to say so on the box. I have never tried microwaving them though as I do prefer pre-cooked pastry products to be heated in a conventional oven.
Inside the box, the pie is rests in a deep single-serving foil container. There is no cellophane wrapper around the pie - it just rests in the box as it is, inside the foil container. The top of the pie is a lovely golden brown colour (un-glazed) and bears a carved criss-cross pattern. This is a nice, substantial pie....I'd guess around 2.5" deep.
I ought to say here that sometimes when I've bought these pies, the whole pastry content has been shortcrust, but on other occasions the pie case has been shortcrust and with the lid being made of flaky pastry. There seems to be no difference in the packaging between the two, so it's a case of you get whatever you get at the time.
In a pre-heated oven (gas mark 4, electric 200C), the pie takes 25 minutes to heat through from chilled, and 45 minutes from frozen.
During the heating time, I can rarely detect any cooking smell - I usually have the pie with carrots and a mixture of green vegetables.
On removing from the oven, the top of the pie always has browned further, and looks very appetising.
I usually lift the lid off of the pie when I eat mine, and inside there is a very good, generous serving of bite-sized pieces of tender chicken breast, in a golden coloured, moderately thick gravy.
The pastry is very light and buttery - not too thick, either - it's substantial, without being overbearing, plus it holds the filling well without any leakage.
Each bite of chicken inside is tasty, tender and lean....truly made of chicken breast. Even though Sainsburys warn on the packaging about the possibility of some small bones remaining despite all effort having been made to remove them, I personally have never found any trace of bone inside these pies.
The gravy is reasonably thick, without being glutinous, and has a very slight peppery flavour.....it really is only slight though and isn't the overpoweringly main flavour, as can be the case with some other shop-bought ready-made pies. The serving of onion inside the pie is generous, and can be tasted quite strongly, although it doesn't detract from or swamp the chicken, gravy and pastry.
Each time I eat one of these pies, I always wish I'd bought two of them, as for me they are moreish, and I'm forever left feeling as though I'd like a second helping. I'd even go as far as to say they're almost as good as home made.
The only real down-side to the pies is that they are extremely high in fat and calories - 607 calories is quite scary, even though the single-serving pie is a good size and would happily satisfy most adult's appetites (yes, even mine!) .....but, they do contain a lot of protein, which in itself can't be a bad thing.
There is certainly no skimping at all on any of the ingredients within Sainsbury's Chicken & Gravy Pies, and I'd certainly recommend them if you don't like making your own or simply don't have the time. I've been eating them happily for years, and have no intention of switching brands. It is a case of pot luck as to whether you get a pie that's totally made from shortcrust pastry, or whether the lid is made from flaky pastry, and some people may prefer to know exactly what they're getting first. There's no other way to find out than to buy the pie!.
Nice one Sainsbury's.....please don't go and do anything daft like change the recipe? It's fine as it is!
Thanks for reading!