Tuck into these warming oven bakes for a winter’s night

Tuck into these warming oven bakes for a winter’s night
Clockwise from top left: cheesy vegetable bake, chicken moussaka, chilli con carne cottage pie, chicken and potato bake. Centre: kreatopita. (Photos and collage: Tony Jackman)

You love our comforting bakes, and we’re here to dish up whatever suits your needs. Here are five winter warmers to feed your soft spot and keep you cosy on a chilly evening.

Greek country pie, a twist on potatoes Dauphinoise, a cottage pie that’s crossed with chilli con carne, chicken moussaka, and a chicken and potato tray bake. That’s a quintet of winter warmers worth turning on the oven.


Kreatopita, a.k.a. Greek Country Meat Pie. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Though not nearly as famous outside Greece as youvetsi, dolmades, spanakopita or moussaka, kreatopita – a Greek country meat pie – is a recipe worth having in your repertoire.

This is a mince (ground meat) recipe for which you can use either beef, lamb/mutton, or a mixture of either of those with lean pork mince. The meat filling differs from many other savoury mince recipes in its inclusion of an unusual combination of aromatics – cinnamon, oregano, paprika, bay and a hint of turmeric – and the happy surprise of a good whack of grated Parmesan (or other hard cheese). 

The filling is finished with yoghurt and beaten egg, and baked in a snug parcel of phyllo pastry. You even get to sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. What’s not to love…

Find the recipe here.

Chicken & potato tray bake

Tony Jackman’s chicken and potato tray bake. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

There’s a particular succulence and crispiness to chicken when it’s been baked in a tray in the oven. It even self-sauces in a way, especially if you throw in some onions, garlic and whatnot. Perfect fare for a simple but delicious supper.

Much as I love cooking, and grateful as I am that I get paid to write about my hobby, there are evenings when I’d rather fling everything into one pot, bung it in the oven, and put my feet up in front of the fire while it cooks itself. And that’s where a good ol’ chicken tray bake comes in…

Find the recipe here.

Chilli Con Carne Cottage Pie

Chilli con carne topped with buttery mashed potato to create a switched-up cottage pie with a Mexican flavour. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

This is a cool mash-up of traditional dishes: spicy and bean-loaded chilli con carne used as a base for a cottage pie. It includes a sprinkling of Cheddar cheese above the layer of cooked savoury ground beef, topped by buttery mashed potato and baked.

Use red kidney beans if you have them but borlotti or sugar beans will do just fine. Add more or less chilli according to your preference. It would be obvious to sprinkle the Cheddar over the mashed potato, but I decided it would be good to let it ooze into the savoury mince while in the oven, to give it more of a Mexican feel.

Find the recipe here.

Chicken Moussaka

Tony Jackman’s chicken moussaka. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

This recipe takes the traditional Greek lamb or beef moussaka and adapts it to chicken. Rather than a béchamel sauce, it uses Greek yoghurt laced with garlic and lemon.

The oregano, garlic, lemon and even a hint of cinnamon (common in Greek cuisine) in this recipe ensure that this alternative take on a moussaka is very Greek in style.

In addition to layers of cooked aubergine/brinjals, I used zucchini (courgettes), which are sometimes included in traditional moussaka. Another frequent inclusion in moussaka is potato, but I decided against that. If you do choose to add it, first steam scallops of potato until almost tender, then cool them before laying them out at the bottom of the oven dish with salt and pepper.

Find the recipe here.

Cheesy vegetable bake with a pasta option

Tony Jackman’s cheesy vegetable bake, which can be optionally turned into a pasta dish. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Here’s a versatile recipe to which you can add a pasta of your choice to soak up the cheesy, creamy sauce that ensues.

To turn this into a pasta bake, add one of the following before putting it into the oven:

1 cup (or more) of pasta elbows (sometimes called macaroni), stirred into the sauce in the oven dish.

6 lasagne sheets: spoon a third of the sauce into the dish, place 3 lasagne sheets, spoon another third in, place three more lasagne sheets, and spoon the remainder of the sauce on top. Sprinkle grated cheese over and bake.

8 to 10 shop-bought cannelloni tubes, depending on the size of your dish: Fill the dish with the sauce, push the cannelloni tubes under so they become filled with sauce, grate cheese over and bake.

Find the recipe here. DM


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