Chicken pie

A proper pie with a pasty top and bottom, perfect for a winter Sunday lunch. I loosely followed two chicken pie recipes, one from the Hairy Bikers and the other from Sarah Tuck which appeared in Dish magazine and adapted them to come up with one that suited me. 

Serves 5. Prep time and cook time approx. 3 hours. You’ll need a 23cm round pie dish. 

350g plain flour
200g butter
2 free-range eggs (one for the pastry and one to glaze)
1 tbsp cold water

2 large chicken breasts, 2 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless)
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
4 cloves 
Sea salt and ground black pepper

1 tbsp oil
150g bacon lardons
50g butter
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 sprigs of thyme
1 large leek (or 2 small-medium), halved lengthways and cut into 1cm slices
2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp plain flour
1/4 cup cream
1-2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

To poach the chicken, place the bay leaves, thyme, cloves, salt and pepper and chicken breasts in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes then add the chicken thighs and boil for 7 more minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool, reserve the poaching water. 

To make the filling, heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan, fry the bacon then remove from the pan. Add the butter, onion, leek(s) and thyme to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 20 minutes. Whisk the wine, flour and cream together and add to the pot, stir to combine. Add 180ml of the poaching water and bring to the boil. Add the mustard and parmesan, stir to combine. Remove from the heat. Shred/chop the chicken. Add this to pan along with the bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool. 

To make the pastry using a food processor, put the flour and butter in the processor and pulse until it resembles oats/breadcrumbs. Beat the egg with 1 tbsp of chilled water. Run the processor and add in the egg mix. The pastry should form a ball. Portion 250g and roll into a disk, cling film and place in the fridge. Roll the remaining pastry out on a lightly flour surface it should be 5mm thick and 4cm larger than your pie dish. 

To assemble the pie, lift the pastry into the greased pie dish, and press the pastry firmly up the sides, ensuring there are no air bubbles. If your filling is completely cool, stir the parsley through it and spoon it into the dish. If not, place the pastry into the fridge while you wait for the filling to cool. Roll out the lid of the pie. Beat the second egg, and use this to brush the overhanging pastry. Place the lid on top, press the edges together using a fork to seal them. Trim any excess pastry and use this make some decorative leaves, or other shapes to decorate your pie. Brush the top of the pie with the egg and cut slits in the middle to let the steam out. 

Place the pie in the fridge for 30 minutes, or up to 6 hours. 

When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan. Cook the pie for approx. 40 minutes, until the pie is golden brown all over, and the filling in piping hot. 

You can make the pastry up to 3 days in advance and keep it cling filmed in the fridge. 

To make the pastry by hand – grate the chilled butter into the flour and rub until the mixture resembles oats/breadcrumbs. Beat the egg with 1 tbsp of chilled water. Add to the mixture and bring together with a wooden spoon. Take golf ball-sized pieces of the dough and using the heel of your hand smear each one across a lightly floured surface (this ensures the butter is fully incorporated). Bring the dough together.