Monday, 26 December 2011
Ideal for leftovers, and my first food love! Chicken (or Turkey!) pot pie
If you were to ask my mum what was her food memory when she thinks about me when I was a kid I would venture a chicken pie would be high up on her list. She has often told me of how, when my dad used to have Birds Eye chicken pie for tea, I would sit, not able to speak for being so young, but communicating by licking my lips until my dad gave me some, and, frankly, I adored it. And whilst I try to shy away from buying frozen meals for my kids for the reasons that I feel that the ingredients are in the main of poor quality and loaded with fats and additives, I will happily wolf down a Birds Eye chicken pie without thinking about it, because I unashamedly adore them!
So, cooking chicken pie offers some sort of satisfaction for me, as does cooking almost anything from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. In fact, I am amazed that it has taken me six months or more to include one of her superb recipes on my blog, as I cite her, along with the likes of Tamasin Day Lewis and Nigella as the inspirations to improve my cooking skills. I was firstly captivated by her lifestyle in The Hamptons and the ease in which she was able to put things together and produce tasty, appealing dishes. Her recipes have often been the ones that have been most positively received by those on the receiving end. As I am fussy about pastry, I substituted the original pastry in the recipe for what I use for shortcrust pastry, plus I had no vegetable shortening which is called for in the original recipe. For the purposes of serving, I made this in one (well two, as it turned out) 'pot' or dish, and the pastry recipe is sufficient for covering both pies. And one last thing. I left out the whole baby onions and I added mushrooms, for chicken and mushroom pie is where this love affair with the chicken pie started.
Chicken (or Turkey at this time of year!!) Pot Pie, adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Ingredients (An American recipe, so using cup measurements, fellow Brits (and others) You should invest in them; it's a liberating experience!)
3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on, or parts of the chicken that you prefer. I used a combination of thighs, drumsticks and breast because I like dark meat! You could of course use leftover cooked chicken/turkey if you have enough of it.
3 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 chicken bouillon/stock cubes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup double cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions or a tin of mushrooms.
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
For the pastry:
8oz plain flour
pinch of salt
a little water, to bind.
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin.
Cut the chicken into large dice. You should have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.
In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock, or just make
up the whole of the stock from stock cubes, remembering to add two more stock cubes than you need.
In a large pot, melt the butter and cook the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick.
Add salt to taste, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the double cream.
Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions/mushrooms and parsley. Mix well.
For the shortcrust pastry:
Mix the flour, butter, salt together, either using a food processor or by rubbing together the ingredients until they resemble breadcrumbs. Add just enough water to bind.
Let the pastry rest for half an hour or so before rolling out.
Once the pastry is ready to be used, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls, or a sufficient bigger bowl or dish.
Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle, or roll out the pastry to the size that you need.
Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the pastry on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl if you wish. If you use a bigger pot I found I did not need to do this with the shortcrust pastry I use. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick.
Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper.
Place on a baking sheet and bake for 40 mins to 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.