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Somewhere along the line I fell out of love with potatoes and almost never ate them unless they were drenched in olive oil, sea salt + cracked black pepper and baked to perfection (in which case, I was more than happy to indulge). Recently though, I’m experiencing something of a revival of my former tastes, and am once again a fan of the humble and versatile wonder that is potato. The recipe below is a simplified version of a recipe found in Jamie magazine by Jamie Oliver, and is a wholesome dish to satisfy the whole family or even just one or two, with the promise of oh-so-easy leftovers for subsequent weeknight dinners. I just couldn’t resist posting this potato pie alongside a sunflower cityscape taken in passing on a recent trip to the America: Painting a Nation exhibition at the New South Wales Art Gallery in Sydney city. If you’re keen to visit, you better get in quick because it finishes up on 9 February 2014. Chock full of painted works spanning the period 1750-1966, it’s an interesting display of American history, society and culture and includes some beautiful landscape pieces that have me lamenting the seemingly fading art-form of paint on canvas. I’ve included a list of some of my favourites (and the recipe!) below.

Charles Sheeler, Cactus (1931)

Jackson Pollock No 22 (1950)

Frederic Edwin Church Cotopaxi (1855)

Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon of the Colorado River (1892, 1908)

Severin Roesen, Flower Still Life with Bird’s Nest (1853)

Chicken Potato Pie

4 chicken thigh fillets, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 brown onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 celery sticks, sliced

100g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced

250 ml liquid chicken stock

4-6 medium sized desiree potatoes

30g butter, melted,

Prepare the potatoes ahead by placing in a pot of boiling water and simmering until just soft. Drain and set aside until completely cooled.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat in a heavy based cast iron pan that will fit in a standard oven. Cook the onions and garlic until translucent, then add the chicken and cook until the meat is sealed all over. Add in the celery and mushrooms and let them cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, then let the whole thing simmer for about 10 minutes. If it looks a bit dry, just add in a little water to keep the whole dish nice and loose, but not too liquid. Remove from the heat and leave to rest for a minute or so.

Slice the cooked potatoes thickly, then place in a layer over the top of the chicken mixture in the pan. Use a brush to spread the melted butter over the potatoes and season with sea salt and some black pepper if you like. A little fresh thyme would also be perfect if you have it to hand. Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly golden on top.

*Serves 4

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