Donna Hay: Chicken Pie

“So what do you think about pie?”

This is the kind of one-line email that often starts between Bells and I regarding a food topic.  I love that a simple question or statement like this can start a flurry of emails (and phone calls) regarding the topic of food. 

Another question is: “What’s for dinner?”  This kind of email is usually when we are bored at work and haven’t been in touch for a while (eg. about half an hour).  There’s usually plenty to say on what we are cooking, or what we should be cooking, or why we are not cooking.  I laughed the other day when Bells said she commented about making a “simple” dinner.  It was an omlette I think, and she talked about the steps she needed to go through to make it.  “That’s an easy dinner??” I remarked.  Not that I disapproved at all…I just enjoyed the idea that her “simple” was another person’s huge undertaking.

Anyway… Bells and I discussed “pie” and I decided to follow her suggestion and make Donna Hay’s Chicken Pie.  I picked up a pie dish recently at a garage sale and thought with the cooling weather that it might be time to find my pastry mojo and see if I could master a really good pie (I have had mixed results in the past).

So I took the time to think about the process and discussed a few of the finer points with Bells.  I would make the filling the day before and make the pastry on the day of cooking.  In this recipe, Bells mentioned that when she had made it the liquid content was high and perhaps I should half the stock.  I didn’t quite half it – but I just used 2 cups instead of three.  Donna mentions allowing the mixture to cool before putting it in the pastry and popping it in the oven.  I think this is a really important step.  Once my pie was cooked my shortcrust pastry on the base remained crisp and properly cooked.  I’m not sure I have ever achieved such a professional finish.

Pies all ready to go into the oven.

 

Ingredients & Method for Shortcrust Pastry:

Basic Shortcrust Pastry
(Makes 350g pastry to line a 25cm pie dish)

2 cups flour
145g (5oz) butter
2-3 tablespoons iced water

You will also need a sheet of puff pastry.

Process the flour and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs

While the motor is running, add enough iced water to form a smooth dough.

Knead very lightly, them wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30minutes. When ready to use, roll out on a lightly-floured surface until 3mm (1/8in) thick.

Ingredients & Method for Pie.

1 Tbls oil

2 leeks, chopped

1kg (2lb) chicken thigh fillets, cut into 2cm cubes

3 cups chicken stock (or 2 cups for less liquid)

3/4 cup dry white wine

250g button mushrooms, halved

2 Tbls chopped flat leaf parsley

2 Tbls cornflour

1/4 cup water

sea salt & cracked pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

To make filling, cook the oil and leek in a saucepan over a medium-high heat for 3 mins or until soft.  Add the chicken, stock and wine.  Simmer, uncovered, for 45 mins or until tender.  Add the mushrooms and parsley to the pan and cook for 5 mins.  Blend the cornflour and water to a smooth paste, add to the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until the mixture thickens and returns to a simmer.  Add salt and pepper.  Set aside to cool. (Very important step). 

Roll out shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and line the base of a deep 24cm pie tin.  Spoon in the cooled filling.  Paint some egg on the edges of the pastry to act as a glue for the puff pastry.  Place the puff pastry on top of the pie and cut a small hole (about the size of a 10 cent piece) in the middle to let the steam out.  Use a fork to press the edges all around the pie to help seal everything in.  Brush with egg.  Bake at 180C (350F) for 40 minutes or until golden and crisp.

Just out of the oven.

 

Perfection!

 

I found that there was enough filling to make 2 pies.  You’ll need to make a double batch of shortcrust pastry and have an extra sheet of puff pastry available.

A friend of mine is about to have her third baby – so I thought I would share a pie with her and her family.  No doubt a cooked meal in the days to come will come in handy.  It’s so nice to cook a meal for friends and families who might be in need of a break.  I don’t knit or sew like Bells, it’s just not in me.  But I love the idea of making things for people and giving away homemade goods.  Sharing a meal with someone is need is something I can do, and the pleasure that comes from it cannot be bought.  Love it!!!

I’ll be certainly making more pies this Winter.  From making this pie I learnt to take the time to think it through before you even raise your knife.  Often my mistakes come from assuming what the recipe says without reading it through properly first.  I do this a lot.  I’ll get part the way through and realise I have missed a step or just done something plain wrong.  Take the time… stop a moment… read and reflect… then bake your heart out!

Delly

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 2paw
    May 07, 2011 @ 22:28:34

    Oh your pie looks so delicious and I agree that having everything cool before assembling the pie is very important. I feel a pie coming on at our house now!!

    Reply

  2. RoseRed
    May 08, 2011 @ 16:21:26

    I might have to make a pie or two soon too, it definitely is pie weather. And I must practice my pastry too. Your looks fabulous and so delicious!

    I think the gift of home cooked food is so appreciated!

    Reply

  3. Bells
    May 08, 2011 @ 17:03:36

    i do believe this was the first proper pie i ever made and it’s exquisite. Works so well. It’s such a great baking/cooking experience isn’t it? Must get out my pie dish.

    And our food conversations by email and phone honestly inform so much of what I do in the kitchen! I’ll often say to Sean ‘I was talking to Delly about X today and so that’s what we’re having for dinner’ or some such.

    Reply

  4. drkknits
    May 09, 2011 @ 11:11:31

    yum yum yum. great post, and im going to make this pie this week thanks to your inspiration. tips noted!

    Reply

  5. David Hilyard
    May 09, 2011 @ 13:40:14

    Looks great! I guess you used pre-made for the puff. I spent an afternoon making puff pastry once, just for the experience. It took hours! Tasted great, but not a lot of return for my time.

    I also tend to just hack in, and then find I have done something stupid. Pays to slow down and think ocasionally!

    Reply

  6. pdxknitterati
    May 12, 2011 @ 11:27:21

    Oh, lovely! That looks delicious. I make my chicken pie with a biscuit crust, which is fab right out of the oven, but not as wonderful on day 2. Of course with teenagers or young adults, there’s not much left over anyway.

    I like the way you describe your conversations. I used to call my dad just to chat, and talk about cooking! He’s gone now, but food was a great relationship-builder.

    Reply

  7. Trackback: Savoury Pumpkin Pie « Delly and Bells Go on a Food Safari

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