I have been craving a chicken pie for quite some time now. This craving was increased ten fold when a friend sought out my own advice on baking a chicken pie. We had a good long debate about filling and pastry crusts. He went for a more difficult double pastry pie, I went for the more simple one layer. Now I love pastry as much as the next girl, probably more, but for one I don’t have a real pie tin, not a deep one anyway and Mary Berry has me petrified of producing baked goods with soggy bottoms. So I figured I could make a nice deep pie in my lasagne dish covered with a pastry top. It came out perfectly and I’m glad I went with this decision. It was quick and easy and who can be bothered with a lot of fuss on a Monday night? The Fat Boyfriend also made the shortcrust pastry making it even easier. Since he’s begun baking I love him even more than I used to. I would advise all girls get their boyfriends the Paul Hollywood bread book as a present as it’s the gift that keeps on giving!
250g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
Pinch of salt
125g chilled unsalted butter
2 medium egg yolks
About 50ml cold water
2-3 chicken breasts (I used 3 as I had a few that needed using up)
3 cloves of garlic
4 potatoes (small-medium)
1 green pepper
1 small bunch of spinach
1 small bunch of parsley
1 tablespoon of rosemary
1 tablespoon of sage
3 + 1 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
1 litre of of chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg beaten (for washing)
1. To make the pastry, first put the flour and salt in a bowl and mix together. Add the butter. You can either cube the butter or grate it with a cheese grater. I find the second method makes the next step easier. Rub the ingredients together with your fingers until you get a texture that resembles breadcrumbs, making sure that all of the butter has been evenly incorporated. Next add the egg yolks and mix using your hands. Finally slowly add the water and keep mixing until everything has come together and the sides of the bowl are clean. You may not need all of the water. Form the pastry into a ball and then gently flatten it into a disk shape with your fingers. Take care to handle it as little as you possibly can at this stage. Wrap it in cling-film and then leave it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.
2. In a saucpan, bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the chicken breasts and poach for about 20 minutes. Peel the potatoes and chop the carrots then after 10 minutes add the potatoes and carrots to the stock. When everything if done remove the chicken carrots and potatoes from the stock and set aside. When the chicken has cool shred into pieces. then chop the potatoes.
3. In a separate frying pan, heat a little oil and chop the onions and garlic and fry for a few minutes until translucent. Meanwhile chop the green pepper, mushrooms, and spinach then add to the pan along with a knob of butter. Cook for a few more minutes until the vegetables are cooked and the spinach has wilted then turn off the heat.
4. To make your sauce melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan then stir in the flour to make a roux and cook for a minute or so then add back in the chicken stock that you saved from earlier. Keep stirring and let the sauce come together, be sure not to let it catch on the bottom. After a few minutes the sauce will have thickened, add the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the coked vegetables, chicken, and potatoes back into the sauce and make sure it has combined. Pour the filling into your pie dish and allow to cool while you roll out the pastry.
6.Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Then on a lightly floured surface roll your pastry until it’s 2-3mm thick and bigger than the size of your dish. Carefully take your pastry and lay it across your dish and seal the edges of the pastry on to your dish by pressing them together. Cut a cross in the middle to let any stream escape then use any leftover pastry to cut some shapes and make a pretty pattern. Brush the whole thing with your egg wash and cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until your pastry is golden brown and cooked through all the way. Serve, enjoy and give yourself a pat on the back, cause you just made a pie!