- 2 large free range chicken breasts (butcher bought - no exception)
- 2 rolls of puff pastry
- 2 tps Dijon mustard
- 1 tbs creme fraiche
- 2 tbs Mushroom ketchup
- 225 mls chicken stock
- Fresh thyme and rosemary
- 100 grams mushrooms
- 50 grms Gruyere cheese
The very utterance of the word pie makes me weak at the knees. I have been known to go into a trance standing at pie shop windows... Granted there aren't many of them around Dublin, but if you spend any time around Cumbria and the Lake District you'll know what I mean.
But, if you do frequent the odd farmers market around Manchester you will find a few people whipping up pies that are pretty good, but if you aren't the wandering foodie that I am, then stuff it... Go make your own!
Line up your whopper pie ingredients.
Kick it off by cubing the chicken and quartering the mushrooms.
Rather than grilling or frying, you have to poach the chicken in the stock with the herbs. There's zero fat on the breast so this goes a long way to adding moisture. Do not poach it the entire way through, leave a pink blush because the chicken will have 2 more cooking stages to go through.
Sling the mushrooms into a pan and cook them as you like. I prefer zero bite in a shroom so I go all the way- about 8 minutes in a good lug of olive oil and well seasoned with salt and plenty of cracked black pepper.
To the mushrooms add the poached chicken, some chicken stock, creme fraiche, mushroom ketchup, and the poached herbs. Then 'sauce-up' over a gentle heat. You can add a good deal of the stock to make sure you have a good saucy consistency because you're gonna learn a sneaky kitchen hack...
Add the cheese and have a taste. Don't use your pinkie, stick a spoon in and get a good gob full and season as you need to. Leave to cool completely.
Kitchen Hack: The Swiss Roux. This is kitchen hack you need to know. It's a quick alternative to arrowroot or cornflour. Just mix 1 tbs of veg oil with 1 tbs plain flour, two things anyone will have in the cupboards. Mix and add to the sauce IF it needs a speedy thicken.
Get your hands on a couple of individual pie dishes, cut out one disc of puff pastry for the base and another for the lid.
Push the pastry into the pie dish then spoon in equal measures of your chicken mix, pile it up to ensure you get a 'domed' lid for your pie. Flat pies truly do suck.
Set on the second puff lid and seal with a little water, then crimp the two parts as stylishly or as roughly as you want. Cut a cross in the roof to let any steam escape.
To ensure the pie is golden and crisp when it bakes, brush it with a beaten egg. Bake in a 180c oven for about 25 minutes or until golden.
Stuff January! Serve with a pile of buttered mash and the obligatory mushy peas.