On my recent trip to London I spent plenty of time talking to my mum. As a fellow cook and foodie herself, we talked quite a lot about food. As you do. She mentioned that she really enjoys making and eating pies, but that my dad is not so keen on them. When she asked me what Big Man´s view was (you can tell can´t you that this was a deep and meaningful conversation) I realised that I had never made him a savoury pie.
Of course, once I was home, I couldn´t get the thought of a chicken, mushroom and bacon pie out of my head. The rain came down, the fog closed in, the tiny hole in the roof that we think we´ve fixed each year started its relentless drip, drip, dripping. It was time to make that pie.
I´d bought two old fashioned pudding basins in
a junk an antique shop in Lewes, a beautiful town where a friend of mine is hoping to move. As I´d managed to get them home without breaking them, I needed to road test them.
Making a pie is a straightforward business if you´re using ready made puff pastry – which was the case for me. If you´re making your own pastry (flaky or shortcrust), it´s not all that much extra work, just a little waiting time while it rests in the fridge.
To make two hearty pies I used
- 2 small chicken breasts, cubed
- About 4 slices of thick cut bacon, cut into small cubes (or use lardons or pancetta)
- 6 mushrooms thinly sliced
- 2 cups of chicken broth (or you can use a mixture of milk and water)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 tablespoons of flour
- Puff pastry
- One beaten egg
Put the chicken into the flour which you will have seasoned and toss it around. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan remove the chicken from the flour and seal it. Don´t throw the flour left in the bowl away. Now add the bacon and mushrooms and cook on a medium heat until the mushrooms have softened.
Add the remaining flour to the pan and stir with a wooden spoon to slightly cook the flour and then gradually add the stock whilst stirring to prevent lumps forming. Once the liquid has all been added, turn up the heat and let it bubble gently until it reaches the consistency of pouring custard.
Put the mixture into a pie dish or small oven proof dishes if you want to do individual portions. Lay the puff pastry over the top, trim if necessary and cut a couple of small slits in the top to let the steam escape. Brush with the beaten egg and bake in a medium over (about 180º C) for about 25 mins or until the pastry is golden brown and risen.
Delicious served with baked or mashed potatoes and vegetables. I made runner beans in garlic and tomato, we drank wine and watched the rain dripping down the windows. Big Man voted the pie a big hit, and now wants to know if I can make him a beef one. I think we can safely say that we have another pie eating convert in the family.
For an idea of what to do with any leftover puff pastry, check out this tasty recipe.