Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like a homemade pie on a blustery autumn day; and there’s something about a well-decorated pie that makes me deeply happy.
Not one to waste things, this pie came about sort of by accident. I didn’t look up a recipe, nor did I plan it first; this is more of a ‘what else is in the fridge?’ kind of pie. But, sometimes the best things occur when you follow your intuition: and this was no exception.
Having boiled a chicken on Sunday, there was plenty of juicy meat leftover for this pie. Boiling may sound old-fashioned or time consuming, but it isn’t really. Not only will you get all the meat off the carcass, but, if you put in lots of veg, herbs, peppercorns etc., you’ll also have a ready-made stock at the end of it.
Although I love nothing more than crispy roast chicken skin, this is a great way to cook a chicken – definitely get more for your money. Though it goes without saying, your stock won’t taste of much if you use cheap meat. Although organic/free-range or butchers may seem more expensive, to me it’s worth it, especially to buy a whole chicken as it works out cheaper in the long term. And I find it hard to reconcile the cruelty involved in battery farming. The lack of care given to the animals is clearly evident in the lack of taste.
Anyway, back to the pie. It’s really up to you how you fill it, but as I was making this for the bf I was inspired by his favourite condiment: mustard. It may not seem the obvious paring with chicken, but a good Dijon (I use Maille) is ideal. I would’ve included a photo, but completely forgot to take one; you’ll have to use your imaginations!
My one cheat, and I feel no guilt about this, is the pastry. Thank you, Jus-Rol for your puff pastry sheets. They are fabulous. I definitely recommend keeping a sheet or two in your fridge/freezer!
Here’s the recipe and ingredients list; enjoy.
Leftover roast chicken
1 leek, sliced
½ large white onion, diced
1 pack smoked pancetta lardons
1 carrot, finely diced
1 dessert spoon Dijon mustard
½ Kallo organic chicken stock cube
½ tsp dried chervil
½ tsp dried thyme
100ml (roughly) crème fraiche – use as much as you need or want! I didn’t measure this just chucked it in till it was saucy enough.
Water – as above
Salt and pepper
Butter and olive oil for cooking
1) Sauté all the veg and pancetta in the butter and olive oil for about 15-20 minutes, or until softened; add salt, pepper and dried herbs.
2) Tear or chop up the chicken, add this to the pan. Crumble over the stock cube and pour in some water (enough to cover the mixture) – add the Dijon. Simmer for another five minutes or until chicken is warmed through. Taste and check the seasoning.
3) When happy, add the crème fraiche and more water if required. Simmer for another few minutes. Check seasoning again. When happy, pour into your pie dish.
4) Place the puff sheet on top and cut around it leaving about half an inch over hang (it will shrink back in the oven). With the spare bits of puff, cut out your decorations; I went for hearts, birds and the word ‘pie’ – you can let your imagination go wild here. Give it a good milk or egg wash, then it’s ready for the oven (see pic above).
5) Bake for about 25 minutes at 180 fan.
6) Serve with mash (I like to keep the skins on, one less thing to do and meant to be where all the nutrients are!), peas and gravy and enjoy!