Friday, 18 May 2012

The Ultimate Family Chicken Pie

I don't know if there is a food so completely comforting as a good chicken pie. Creamy sauce with tender chicken pieces, mushroom slices and a hint of aniseedy tarragon, tucked under a flaky puff pastry topping. Give me a good chicken pie any day. I love it with veg - broccoli, peas or carrots - and any leftovers are finished off the next day for lunch, warmed up, with a blob of glossy, dark HP brown sauce.




This recipe is an adaptation of Jamie Oliver's chicken pie from 30-Minute Meals, but it is quite different in texture and in flavour than the original. I've added the tarragon, which I love - and usually use chicken thigh meat instead of chicken breast as it stays more juicy. I've also tweaked the quantities of creme fraiche and stock to make a richer, creamier sauce. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.

Ultimate Family Chicken Pie
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 spring onions, washed, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, or 6 chicken thigh fillets, sliced into bite-sized chunks
  • 150g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and stalks trimmed
  • 1 heaped tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 x ready rolled sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 200C. In a large frying pan, melt the butter and drizzle in a little olive oil and fry the sliced chicken for 3-4 minutes. Throw in the sliced spring onions and the mushrooms and cook for another minute.
  2. Scatter over the flour and then add the stock, mustard, creme fraiche and dried tarragon with a pinch of salt and grinding of black pepper. Stir to combine, and leave to simmer for 5-7 minutes more.
  3. Take out an ovenproof roasting dish and tip in the creamy chicken mixture. Unravel the roll of puff pastry and lay over the top of the pie filling. Gently, without cutting through it, score the top of the pastry with a sharp knife, making a chequerboard effect. Brush with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the creamy sauce is bubbling up around it.



What would be your ultimate pie? Shortcrust pastry or puff? Chicken, beef or vegetable?