Chicken pie, anybody?
The two blonds have been working super hard on some very exciting projects, so therefore the absence, and like a lot of people this time of year, I’ve been battling some winter bug that takes the wind right out of your sails for a while … But, life goes on, and so does my job. They say chicken soup is the way to go when feeling under the duvet, but I think this chicken pie could come in a close second!
Part of my job is to test the recipes we put on our website, I Love Cooking. It’s very exciting, because I get to practice my skills a lot, as well as play with my favorite toys – my whisks, spatulas, pots, pans, colanders, zesters, quirky timers and best of all, my Wusthof! (Honestly, it’s my hubby’s because Mom bought it for him as a birthday present with a card saying every man needs a good kitchen knife, nudge, nudge, wink, wink… She inadvertently always tries to coax him into the kitchen to prepare stuff, and actually got him to make pasta once – which turned out great – and something which he is very proud of) Needless to say, I am the only one who actually uses (and sharpens) the knife on a regular basis.
This recipe is perfect for using the Wusthof! Taking large veggies, chopping them coarsely. Portioning a chicken – great stuff to get your shoulder into and tossing everything into a large pot and letting it simmer away to release those big flavors – yum! I suggest donning a crisp white apron to complete the whole experience. Add if the buttermilk pastry is too much for you to prepare this time, use a roll of bought puff pastry.
Chicken Pie with Hearty Buttermilk Pastry
- 1 free range chicken (about 1.4 kg)
- plus 4 chicken breasts (on the bone)
- 3 large carrots, thickly sliced
- 3 brown onions, skin on, quartered
- 6 large stick celery, thickly sliced
- 250 g large brown mushrooms, quartered
- 3 large bay leaves
- 8 large cloves of garlic, not peeled
- 2 generous pinches of ground cloves
- 5 ml ground nutmeg
- 1.8 litres cold water
- 2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled
- 30 ml canola oil
- 1 large bunch spring onions, sliced thinly (with the green tops)
- 250 g white button mushrooms, grated
- 1 x packet cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup
- 65 ml finely chopped parsley
- milled black pepper
- some prepared Hearty Buttermilk Pastry
Cut the chicken in portions and place in your largest saucepan. Add the chicken breasts as well as the carrots, onions, celery, brown mushrooms, bay leaves, garlic, cloves, nutmeg, water and stock cubes. Bring to a boil, skim off any foam that may develop on the top, and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer gently for an hour or until the chicken is cooked. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool in the stock until you can handle the chicken by hand.
Strain, reserving the stock and the chicken. Discard or re-use the veggies as you deem fit. Pour the stock in a jug so that the fat rises to the top then remove as much of that fat as you can. Remove the bones and skin from the chicken and discard or re-use as you deem fit. Flake or cut the chicken meat into small pieces and set aside.
Heat the oil and add the spring onion, fry briefly then add the grated white button mushrooms. Sauté until they are cooked then add the reserved chicken stock. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly until it is reduced to a total of 800 ml. Mix the soup powder with a little water until smooth then whisk into the simmering reduced stock. Stir until thickened now add the chicken meat and parsley. Stir lightly with a fork to mix through (you do not want the meat to break into stringy parts) and remove from heat.
Taste and now adjust seasoning: you may need salt (doubt it), milled black pepper. When you are happy with the taste, transfer to a deep 20 X30 cm-baking dish and set aside.
Spoon the pastry dough on top of your pie filing. Flatten the dough for a neat finish. Bake for 40 – 50 minutes in the oven preheated to 180 ºC or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown.
Serve with a simple tomato and lettuce salad.
Serves 6 – 8
Chef’s note: this is really a very large pie, perfect for those festive extended-family feasts. For normal meals, you can halve the recipe or even just omit the chicken breasts for a smaller pie. And if you are using puff pastry, crump the edges, make a few small slits in the top and brush with an egg wash made with an egg beaten with a little water. Bake in the oven preheated to 200 ºC for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
And if you really must, you can see me in action preparing the buttermilk pastry by clicking this link - and on that note: apoligies for the bad image above. It was lifted staight of this video clip as a JPEG.