I’ve been thinking about this pie for quite a long time. I love a good chicken pie, but have not really considered how I would go about making one until we made pulled pork the other day in the slow cooker. I know I couldn’t have been googling my heart out and had an answer a lot quicker, but perhaps the slow gestation of this recipe has what has resulted in an awesome pie. We were so impressed with the flavours that I can declare that a family sized pie almost disappeared between the two of us within one sitting it was just that good!
Back to the slow cooker as the source of inspiration. My idea was that I wanted to slow cook my ingredients to create a natural gravy filled with flavour. I wanted to keep my pastry crisp and the flavours clean. There was multiple steps to creating this pie, but the labour of love was worth it and next time I know what I need to do to speed up the process.
For you the good news is that I can give you the method based on my learnings so you don’t take all day to make the pie like I did. First step was to ditch the slow cooker and bring out the cast iron pot, it will eliminate the multiple dishes and potentially end up in a superior flavour. I did use a little cornflour, but it was to stop me ending up with a soggy pastry base which I loath. In spite of my best efforts you will still need a few hours to make this pie with the cooking time, so this is definitely a Sunday food to create.
Rustic Chicken and Bacon Pie
serves approx 6 people
- 600ml chicken stock
- 300g bacon, finely sliced
- 3 chicken breasts, diced
- bunch fresh thyme
- 2 leeks, finely sliced
- 2 carrots, grated
- 2 sticks celery, finely diced
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed or grated on your microplane
- 1 tsp allspice
- 3 sheets puff pasty
- cracked black pepper
- 1 tbl sp. cornflour
- 1/4 cup verjuice
- dash of olive oil
- 2 tbl sp. mixed provincial herbs
- 1 egg
Pre-heat your oven to approx 140c.
Heat a cast iron pot, that has a lid, over a medium heat. Cook off your bacon in a small amount of olive oil until it starts to caramalise and brown around the edges. At this point add your leeks and garlic and continue cooking until the leeks have turned translucent, but take care to avoid them burning. When they are ready add in the verjuice and using a wooden spoon you should be able to clean the base of your pan of all the yummy flavour that has stuck from the bacon.
Into the pan then add your carrot, celery, herbs, allspice and chicken cubes and combine. Add your chicken stock, it should just cover the ingredients.
Place the lid on your pan and put it into the oven to bake for approx 3 hours. Check at the halfway point to make sure there is enough liquid and add a little bit of water if it’s getting too dry.
Once cooked your chicken should pull apart with a fork easily and the vegetables should be soft. If you think the chicken needs longer then return it to the oven until it is at this point. Remove from the oven and at this point remove any stalks from the thyme. Also smoosh your chicken to break it into small pieces so you have a lovely thick sauce without too many chunks.
In a small bowl combine your cornflour and a small amount of water to create a slurry. Add this to the chicken mixture whilst it is hot and stir. It should turn your gravy slightly thicker, but if not then place the pan back on the stove and bring to a simmer and stir to do so. Once this has happened set to the side whilst you prepare your pastry shell.
In a springform cake tin (approx 20cm diameter) line the base with greaseproof paper. Place a sheet of pre-prepared pastry on the bottom and cut to fit. Slice another square into strips and place around the edges to create the sides. Press down with your fingers to join the pastry well. Onto the pastry place another piece of greaseproof paper and then add baking weights or if you don’t have any then use some rice to hold the paper down and help the pastry to retain its shape. Place in the oven for approx 15 minutes or until the top edges of the pastry are browning very slightly. Remove from the oven and remove the paper and baking weights.
Into the pastry shell place your chicken mixture. Place another piece of pastry on top to create a lid, cutting around the edges to shape and fit the pie. Lightly beat the egg in a bowl and then brush the pastry lid.
Place the pie in the oven and bake for approx 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot.
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating,