One thing I can say about the British is that we love a pie. Be it the easy grab snack from the petrol station or a warm Greg’s pastry on the go; a burn your mouth at the footy with the molten lava from the pie stand; a Cornish pasty; a lovely steak and ale pie on the pub menu or the lovingly crafted homemade pie. We just find heavenly delight in the buttery crusts and their hidden delights.
The Hairy Bikers even hosted a tv series with accompanying book The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies, which is a great book all about our love of the humble pie, be them pastry or potato topped. It always amazes me that pies are not really a thing in the Netherlands, you can get sausage rolls and cheese pastries but not so much pies.
The main thing you need to consider when making a pie is to allow time to make the filling. All the care and flavour you pack into the casserole/filling is what will make your pie. This was my fail this week, I took my girls to the cinema and only started the pie filling when we got home and therefore, we were late sitting down to dinner. Thankfully all the popcorn they consumed kept them from raiding the fridge. Also ideally you want your filling to be cold/cool before putting the pastry on top so that the steam does not lead to soggy pastry, I ended up putting the lattice on a sheet of baking paper and tipping it unceremoniously over the top – I was amazed when it fell nicely. The end result received the thumbs up from the gang so all’s well that ends well.
- 400g x Chicken thighs
- 1/2l Chicken stock
- 4 rashers of smokey streaky bacon
- Olive oil
- 2 x onions
- 3 x carrots
- 2 x potatoes
- Fresh Thyme
- 2 Bay leaves
- 200g Button mushrooms
- 125g Cold unsalted butter
- 250g Plain flour
- Chop the chicken into bitesize pieces and put into pan with the bacon, fry it off until the chicken is golden and the bacon crispy.
- While the meat is cooking peel and prepare the vegetables to evenly sized pieces.
- Add the onions, carrots, potatoes and thyme to the chicken and bacon, stir and cook for 2 minutes then add the mushrooms and flour stir in to coat the ingredients and then add the chicken stock and bay leaves.
- Bring to the boil and then simmer for 40 minutes to get a lovely thick sauce. Turn off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Place your flour in a bowl and rub in the unsalted butter add 4 tablespoons of cold water to bring it together. Wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate for half an hour.
- Roll the dough out on a floured surface and then place on top of the dish. You can transfer your chicken filling into a pie dish but today I have just placed the pastry over the top. If putting into a pie dish, egg wash the sides of the dish and once the pastry is on top, pinch the edges and score the middle. Egg wash the top and bake for 30 minutes (40 if the filling is cold), or until the pastry is lovely and golden and the filling is hot throughout.