August 4, 2009

Chicken Thigh Pie

Chicken Thigh Pie


I’ve adapted a Rachel Allen recipe to create a filling with a creamy sauce. I
made the pastry myself and it was lovely and flaky, but ready-made puff pastry would be good for this too.

Next time I will add a bit more beurre manié (equal parts of flour and butter mixed to a firm paste) because the sauce was a bit thin after the pie had been baked – I think the frozen peas released a lot of water.
This was quite a time consuming and labour intensive meal to prepare, but it was worth it as both Steve and I really enjoyed it. You could of course cut loads of corners by using ready-rolled pastry and cooked chicken, but I get so much pleasure out of cooking that I prefer to cook from scratch.

I called this Chicken Thigh Pie as that is the part of the chicken I like to use, but you can use breast if you prefer and adjust the cooking time of step 1 for the filling.

  • Serves: 4 people if served as part of a 3 course meal (or 2 very greedy people for a dinner)
  • Oven temperature: Gas mark 8/450°F/230°C for 15 minutes, then reduce to Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C for 15 minutes.
  • You will need: a shallow 1 – 1¼ pint capacity ovenproof dish

Ingredients for the Flaky Pastry:
  • 100g plain flour
  • 38g cold butter
  • 38g cold lard
  • 4-5 Tablespoons water

Directions for the Flaky Pastry:
  1. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl, then add half the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Add 4 Tablespoons of water to the mixture and blend lightly together with a palette knife. If the mixture isn’t coming together easily and there are dry bits in the bottom of the bowl then add more water a ½ Tablespoon at a time (there are many factors that affect pastry-making, so only use measurements as a guide).
  3. Once you can bring the mixture together with your hands into a soft but not sticky dough, then you can roll it out into a long rectangle, about 30cm long, onto a lightly floured board until it is about 5mm thick.
  4. Mark the rectangle of the dough into thirds, without cutting all the way through.
  5. Dot the top two thirds with half of the lard, then fold the bottom third up to cover the middle third.
  6. Fold the top third down to enclose all the fat. You should now have a small rectangle.
  7. Using your rolling pin, seal the edges by pressing down firmly. Give the pastry a quarter turn clockwise.
  8. Roll again to form a long rectangle and repeat steps 4 to 6 but this time use the remaining butter.
  9. Fold and roll again, but this time use the remaining lard.
  10. Fold and roll for the last time without any fat being added.
  11. Cover the pastry with cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using.
* I thought a diagram would be useful so here are my best efforts using Photoshop and Steve’s help! (click to enlarge):

Ingredients for the filling:
  • 500g chicken thighs, bone in
  • ½ carrot, cut into chunks
  • ½ onion, cut into wedges
  • 300ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • pinch of dried rosemary and thyme (or fresh if you have it)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 85ml double cream
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 3 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 6 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of beurre manié
  • 100g frozen peas
  • ½ small tin sweetcorn
  • 1 beaten egg, to glaze

Directions for the filling:
  1. Put the chicken, carrot, onion wedges, stock, herbs and seasoning into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and no blood appears when you cut into the chicken.
  2. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan (you can discard the vegetables), reserving the stock for the sauce. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and cut the meat into bite size pieces. Put the chicken in the pie dish.
  3. Whilst the chicken is cooking, gently fry the chopped onion until it is soft but not coloured. Add the bacon and the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Put this mixture into the pie dish with the chicken and mix well.
  4. Put the reserved stock back into the saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the cream and whisk in 1-2 Tablespoons of the beurre manié. Boil the sauce for a few minutes to cook out the flour in the beurre manié and for the sauce to thicken. Pour the sauce into the pie dish over the chicken mixture and mix well. (If you are baking the pie immediately then you can proceed with the next steps, otherwise allow to cool before covering with the pastry).
  5. When you are ready to bake your pie, add the peas and sweetcorn to the chicken mixture and mix well.
  6. Roll out your pastry onto a lightly floured board until it is large enough to cover your pie dish.
  7. Cut a strip 1cm wide from the outside of the pastry and place it on the moistened rim of the pie dish, then brush with water.
  8. Carefully place the rest of the pastry over the pie mixture and seal the edges together by pressing firmly. Trim off the excess pastry and knock up the edges of the pie with the flat of your knife.
  9. Make a small hole in the centre of the pie to allow steam to escape and place a greaseproof paper funnel in the hole.
  10. Glaze the top of the pie with the beaten egg.
  11. Cook in a preheated oven at Gas mark 8/450°F/230°C for 15 minutes or until golden brown and then reduce to Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C for 15-20 minutes.


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