Chicken, leek and mushroom pie:
There are few things that hit the spot in Winter when your fingers are numb and your nose is red after a bracing Sunday walk, than a roast dinner.
I know they are not the most fuss free of meals (if you do them at home!) but as long as I have all the gear in the fridge by Sunday and help with the prep, the execution on Sunday is worth it. Least not because we all sit together and eat, which seldom happens in the week. Not only this, but the roast chicken is so generous it opens the door to stocks, soups and our all-time favourites: Chicken pie!
After a day or 2, I am ready for the chicken reincarnation. When I get 10 minutes in the kitchen, I strip the meat from the carcass and pop it back in the fridge for when I am ready. This just means when you are ready to prep your pie, it’s 1 less job and it feels more fuss free.
At this point, I may consider making some stock. I put the chicken carcass in a large pan, with a carrot, celery stick, onion, halved (skin on), leek tops, parsley stalks, bay leaf and dozen peppercorns and cover with cold water. Bring it to the boil, skim off any scum on the top and then simmer for an hour. Strain and bosh: stock!
It really is that simple and fuss free, especially if you are hanging out in the kitchen anyway! If you are not in the right space to make stock, pop the carcass in the freezer until you are. Maybe even save up 2 or 3 and make a bigger, stronger batch, all in one go.
Next thing to consider is the pastry: Now the purist in me has made the pastry from scratch and that is a lovely thing, and in the blender is not too much bother. But recently in homage to spreading the fuss free word, I am actually enjoying it more with some ready made puff pastry or even filo pastry.
Bought puff pastry or filo is lighter and quicker; and I think if it means you are going to make something like this on a weeknight, it is OK to buy the best you can get your hands on! All butter pasty is best.
If I have any other leftovers from the roast on Sunday I will add them in too….any sausages and bacon, stuffing, are all little treasures to be found under the puff pastry pillow!! Even leftover gravy, I will add to the mix.
What’s your favourite pie filling and pastry? Let us all know in the comments on FB!
Chicken, leek and mushroom pie
Serves 2 greedy adults or family of 4
Approx 1litre pie dish, 22cm diameter or similar
Preheat the oven 180 degrees c
3 leeks, washed, whites sliced, green tops saved for stock (or compost!)
250g box of mushrooms (I use whole brown button)
150g bacon, thinly sliced
250g leftover roast chicken, chunks
500ml chicken stock, fresh or stock cube
320g roll of puff pastry
3 heaped tbsp of plain flour
Few sprigs of thyme
Large knob of butter
Trickle of oil
1 egg to glaze
Any leftovers: gravy, stuffing, sausages and bacon
- Add the oil to a large, hot pan and fry the bacon until brown (not burnt!) and the fat has rendered down.
- Remove out of the pan, leaving a little fat and add a knob of butter. When melted, add the leeks and sweat on a low heat for 5 minutes until they are soft and lost their shape.
- Add the mushrooms and turn up the heat to get all the water out of the mushrooms and stir occasionally so that the leeks can’t stick. When the water has evaporated after 5 minutes, brown slightly, then add the bacon back to the pan.
- Add the flour, stir, and cook out for a few minutes. Add the stock and stir to make a lovely gravy. Add the thyme, chicken and any other leftovers bits and simmer for 10-15 minutes until thick and heated through.
- Place a sieve over a medium pan and place the chicken mixture into the sieve, so as to extract the gravy into the pan. Lightly press your chicken mixture to get most of the gravy out, so that it isn’t too wet and make the pastry soggy.
- Move the chicken mixture to your pie dish. Leave to cool slightly or completely if you are preparing ahead of time.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge and lay it out. Cut a few strips of 1cm thick pieces of pastry off the edges of the pastry sheet. Wet the edge of the pie dish with water and stick the strands to the dish as a base to set the lid on. Press gently to fix.
- Brush these bits of pastry on the dish with water and place the whole piece of pastry on top. Press down gently. Use a knife to cut off the excess pastry and if you want, save the extra bits to make jam tarts!!
- Crimp the edge of the pie with the end of the knife. Brush with beaten egg, and poke 2 holes in the top to let the stream out.
- Place in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for about 25 minutes, being careful that the top doesn’t brown too quickly. It will sit quite happily for 10 minutes on the work surface when cooked.
- Reheat the gravy, dish up the pie with seasonal greens. Enjoy!
If you want to use filo pastry, scrunch 4 pieces of filo on top of the pie. Drizzle with oil and herbs and bake for 25-30 mins…..
Forget the fuss.
No bacon? Use pancetta
No thyme? Sprinkle in dried oregano
No leftover roast chicken?! Use boneless chicken thighs, diced or roast 2 whole chicken thighs, and pick off the meat when roasted and it is falling off the bone
Prepare the pie up to the point of needing to put on the pastry lid, to make it easy when you get in