Sunday, 23 October 2011

Chicken, leek and bacon pie

Ok so I wanted to do something really wholesome and warming as it's getting colder, so instantly pie came to my mind. I wanted to do something with leeks as I had some left over so chicken and leek pie seemed the best option. Now there will be some traditionalists amongst you that will curse me the second I mention ready-to-roll pastry but to be honest it works just as well and when you're a busy household you don't have time. I do love homemade pastry but ready-to-roll is a stitch in time.

This recipe has been tried and tested on my family. My family, that the instant I mentioned Chicken and Leek Pie flinched and stated "ooo we don't really do that kind of pie", but, after some coaxing they finally agreed to try it;

1½ kg whole chicken
½ tsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves
3-4 thyme sprigs
1 onion , halved
1 celery stick
½ tsp salt
25g butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 bacon rashers, cut into large pieces
Packet of baby button mushrooms
2 leeks , thinly sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp grainy mustard
4 tbsp crème fraîche
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
squeeze of lemon juice
250g bought puff pastry or home-made rough puff
beaten egg , for glazing

Put the chicken into a deep pan that is just large enough to hold it quite snugly. Pour in enough water to half cover the bird, then tip in the peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, onion and celery. Add the salt and bring to the boil on the hob, then reduce the heat, cover tightly and simmer for 1-11⁄4 hours until tender.
Transfer the chicken to a plate. Strain 425ml/3⁄4 pint of the stock into a measuring jug (top up with water if you need to). Strip the meat off the chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces and put in a 1.7 litre/3 pint pie dish.
Nestle the button mushrooms in the pie dish among the chicken pieces.
Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan and fry the bacon until crisp. Add the leeks and cook for 2 minutes until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the chicken stock a third at a time, stirring continuously and making sure the sauce is thick and smooth before adding the next batch. Stir in the mustard, crème fraîche and parsley, then add a squeeze of lemon juice and black pepper to taste. Add salt if needed. Spoon over the chicken and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7/fan 200C. Reserve a quarter of the pastry for decoration and roll out the remainder to a shape about 5cm/2in larger than the top of the pie dish, then cut a 2.5cm/1in strip from all round the edge. Brush the edge of the dish with water and stick the pastry strip to it. Brush the strip with water. Flip the pastry lid over the rolling pin, lift it up and unroll over the pie. Press the edge on to the pastry strip to seal, and trim any excess with a sharp knife.
Tap the blade of a small sharp knife all along the outside edge of the pastry (this helps the edge to rise during cooking), then flute it using the back of the knife. Make a hole in the lid centre with the tip of the knife, to allow steam to escape as the pie bakes.
Roll out the pastry you put aside earlier and decorate how you wish (I simply put a heart on mine) Brush the pastry lid with beaten egg.
Chill the pie for 15 mins, if you have time, to set the pastry. (Can be made a day ahead up to this point. Keep chilled and add 4-5 extra minutes at baking time.) Bake for 30 - 35 miutes until the pastry is crisp, puffed up and deep golden brown.)

My family adored it!! My dad even asked for the recipe and made it the day after!

Let me know how yours turned out and if you used your own homemade pastry or ready-to-roll.

No drama xx

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