We had a crazy flash of summer again last week (seriously, it was flip flops and paddling pools on the last day of September!) but now autumn seems to be back with a vengeance. Which is fine by me if it means I can spend my days in the kitchen making pies and pots of soup. This magnificent (if a little wobbly) specimen is a celebratory chicken and leek pie made for my mum’s birthday dinner. I figured if she was having a pie cake she should have an actual pie as well! It was supposed to be a chicken, leek and shitake pie but my sister doesn’t like mushrooms so I made it minus the shitakes. I’ll include them in the recipe as I’m pretty sure they would make it extra delicious.
Chicken, leek and shitake pie (adapted from Sainsbury’s Magazine, October 2009)
1. Trim and slice 1 medium leek and 120g shitake mushrooms. Gently cook in 25g butter until tender, then cool and mix with 400g cold cooked and shredded chicken, 1 tbsp chopped tarragon and 1 tbsp chopped parsley.
2. Next make the sauce. Melt 40g butter in a pan then add 40g flour and cook over a low heat for 1-2 mins until the mixture is golden brown and smells biscuity. Add 300g chicken stock and turn up the heat, whisking constantly, until it reaches simmering point and thickens slightly (this only took about two seconds for me!). Take off the heat and stir in 150ml single cream, 1/2 tsp English mustard and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Allow to cool.
3. Mix the sauce with the chicken mixture and pour the filling into a 1.5 litre pie dish. This is where I deviated from the recipe: too scared and time-poor to make my own hot water crust I cheated and used a pack of ready made puff pastry to top the pie. If doing the same, stick a thin strip of pastry around the rim of the pie dish before draping a large sheet of pastry over the dish. Trim around the edges and pinch together to get a good seal. Cut a couple of air holes in the middle of the pastry and decorate as you wish. Brush with 1 beaten egg before baking at 200C/ gas mark 6 for 30-40 mins.
There is something so satisfying about making a pie, I can’t quite explain it. Please make this pie at the earliest opportunity, then tell me you know what I’m talking about. Deal?