Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy!
Comfort Food – Basic Chicken Pie Recipe
In terms of comfort food few things beat a pie. Not only is it a nice filling dinner, it’s pretty easy to boot. Ultimately a pie is a simple proposition, cook a filling, line a dish with pastry and cook in the oven until the filling is cooked through and the pastry is golden. Here I’m going to cook a chicken pie because it’s a family favourite, but you can make life even easier by substituting a home made filling for a can of stewing steak. The steak in a can and bought pastry pie is a staple that served me well through university.
To keep things simple I use pre-made pastry and usually puff pastry as I prefer it. It’s not hard to make your own shortcrust pastry or even rough puff, but it is time consuming and so in the week I keep things simple by buying pastry ready made.
You can be a bit free and easy with the recipe here. I’ve chosen leek, onion and chicken as they’re classic British flavours that sit well together but you can experiment. Cheese, especially gruyere will go in well enough and where chicken is, bacon can also be as well. For this pie the liquid is provided by reduced fat single cream, another easy option would be to put a few tablespoons (2 or 3) of flour into the filling, cook for a few minutes and and then add in some chicken stock. Here is my basic recipe anyway, this would feed out family of 5. I wouldn’t bother with potatoes as I find the pastry is enough but I would serve with greens or swiss chard, or some asparagus.
4 medium chicken breasts
1 large white onion
1 tub of low fat single cream / cream substitute
1 pack of ready made puff pastry (all butter or not, your choice)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 beaten egg
1. Grease a large pie dish.
2. Pre-heat oven to 170C (Fan, add 10C off for normal oven).
3. Chop pastry into two with 1 block 3/4 of the pastry and another 1/4.
4. Roll out larger pastry block and line base and sides of dish, let it overlap by about 1-2 cm.
5. Roll out smaller pastry to be a cap for the dish, overlap by 1-2 cm.
6. Set aside pastry.
7. Cut chicken into chunks and fry in a pan in batches in a little oil until browned.
8. While chicken frying chop a leek and the onion finely – you want them to melt into a sauce.
9. When the chicken is all cooked, set aside on a plate and fry off the veg in the same pan.
10. Fry the leek and onion (here is where you would fry chopped bacon as well) together on a medium heat until well softened.
11. If using cream, add this in now, if using flour and stock add the flour now, cook off for 3 mins then add the stock slowly.
12. Add dijon mustard, mix and test seasoning.
13. Turn off heat, re-add the chicken and mix.
14. Pour filling into pie dish and lay on pie top.
15. With your fingers work around the edges of the dish rolling the overlapping base over the overlapping lid to form a crust.
16. With a pastry brush brush egg over the lid and crust to make it go golden when it cooks.
17. Poke a slit in the top with a knife for steam to escape.
18. Bake for 30 mins or until pastry has puffed and is golden.