Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie
By Martin Kirrane
You may be forgiven for thinking that making a pie is really difficult or that it takes ages to prepare and cook. Well think again, this pie recipe is unbelievably easy and only takes about an hour all in, from start to finish. I've got two individual pie dishes at home but if you haven't got something like these you can make one bigger pie if you want. This mix serves 3-4 people (or a really generous 2!). You will need:
450g boneless chicken (I use a mix of thigh and breast fillet)
150g of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
2 Shallots (chopped finely)
Half a regular sized leek (finely chopped)
2 Tablespoons plain flour
A pint of chicken stock
Half a pint of milk (full or semi-skimmed)
Salt & pepper to season
1 Egg (beaten)
Pack of puff pastry (500g at least)
I make the pie mix in a large edged pan but a pot works just as well. Throw the chicken and pancetta or bacon into the pan and allow to brown at a low/medium heat. You can add a touch of olive oil if you want but I don't bother, the bacon should do the work for you. After about 6-7 minutes, add the shallots and chopped leeks and give a good stir.
After another 8-10 minutes on a low heat sprinkle over the two tablespoons of flour, mixing well. Give it a minute, then slowly add in the stock, stirring well. It's going to start looking like a pie mix now, so time to add the milk, again, a little at first. You can add it but you cant take it away!
Allow this to simmer for about 25 minutes, and during this, pre-heat your oven to 180 and get your puff pastry out. If you haven't got the pre-rolled version, then roll out enough to cover your dish on a floured surface. You want it to be a little thicker than a pound coin. Once ready, lay your dish over the pastry and with a sharp knife cut a shape a little bigger than the dish, about a centimetre bigger all the way round.
Have a taste of your pie mix, being careful not to burn yourself, and add a touch of salt or pepper to your liking. Once your happy with it, pour the mix into the dish or dishes, and fill to just under the rim. You can allow this to cool now, or store away for another time, but if you're hungry now, then bear in mind the mix is going into the oven warm, and really you're only waiting for the pastry to cook.
Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and lay this side carefully over the dish. Push down the edges with your fingers and trim any excess away with the knife. Using the knife in a downward motion, pierce a small hole in the centre to allow steam to escape. Brush the top of your pie with egg and pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.