Life is too short for celery sticks and cheap wine.
~ Anonymous ~
There are few things as comforting and delicious as Chicken Pie. I am already a sucker for anything in pastry. I even used to salivate at the smell of frozen, mass-produced sausage rolls being baked! Add to that the smell of roasted chicken and creamy mushrooms as in the case of this Chicken Pie recipe, and it’s True Love! Chicken Pie used to be the dish for family gatherings and Sunday visits with friends when I was growing up. We did love leg of lamb and roast pork, but chicken was cheaper and adding veggies stretched it even further.
Nowadays pies are relegated to convenience food when someone needs a quick warm lunch. As you can imagine, I have no fear of sausage rolls from the garage shop – except for the pastry all over the car afterwards! The supermarkets are also full of family-sized frozen pies which I have often and happily used. But it is a more old-fashioned type of food. Luckily there are still a few restaurants with Chicken Pot Pie on their menu. But what can be more fun than making it yourself? It’s actually not that hard and as long as you have a batch of Hot Water Pastry at hand, half the job is done already!
I have fillings for you!
They say what you put in is what you get out and that is also the case with Chicken Pie. The flaky pastry is already filled with butter, so now all that remains is that delicious filling inside. My mother used to roast the chicken in the oven and debone the whole thing. I have also made pie with a mix of skinless chicken breasts and thighs cooked in the slow cooker with some chicken stock. But if you are in a hurry, cubed chicken breasts are perfectly okay and still super tasty. Then we need some veggies, my favourites being carrots, celery, asparagus and mushroom. And of course, the sauce – a creamy one is always best!
- 1 batch Hot Water Pastry (or 2 sheets of ready-made puff pastry, thawed)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- oil for sautéing
- 10 x 10cm celery sticks, chopped
- 250 g sliced mushrooms
- 3 medium carrots, sliced
- 150 g fresh asparagus, in 2cm chunks
- 2 t fresh or dried thyme
- 6 cups cooked chicken
- 1 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- Sauté the onions and celery until translucent.
- Add the mushrooms, carrots, asparagus and thyme and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper and add the cooked chicken and cream.
- Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has reduced by about a quarter.
- Stir the chopped parsley through the mixture and remove from heat.
- Set aside to cool down for at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- Roll out half of your Hot Water Pastry and line the bottom of a rectangular ovenproof dish with the pastry.
- Spoon the filling into the pie crust.
- Roll out the other half of the pastry and place on top of the filling.
- Crimp the edges and cut two small holes in the middle of the pie to let out steam build-up.
- Use any pastry off-cuts to decorate the top of the pie.
- Brush evenly with beaten egg to ensure a golden colour on your pie.
- Bake for 40 - 45 minutes until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown.
- Serve with rice and your choice of salad.
- The chicken in this recipe can be replaced with equal amounts of veggies, turning it into a vegetarian pie.
- The filling should be saucy, but not too wet. Some of the moisture does evaporate during baking. Additional gravy could be made using chicken stock and pan drippings from when you cook the chicken.
- If you are short on time (or pastry) you can spoon the filling directly into the greased oven dish without a bottom layer of pie crust and just put a "lid" of pastry on top of your pie.
- The pie can easily be made in smaller individual sized portions.