Hearty and homely, the humble chicken pie has been nourishing a vast swathe of the American mid-West to great satisfaction for centuries. Pot pies, as they're popularly termed in the United States, are comfort food at its very best.
- 1.6 kg whole chicken
- 4 carrots, 2 roughly chopped, 2 finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 30 g butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 1 large sebago or desiree potato, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tbsp plain flour, plus extra, to dust
- 120 g (1 cup) frozen peas
- 185 ml (¾ cup) thickened cream
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 375 g block puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tsp water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 1 hour
Drink match 2010 Hungerford Hill Tumbarumba Chardonnay, Tumbarumba, NSW ($30)
You will need to remove the puff pastry block from the freezer at least 2 hours before needed to defrost. Alternatively, place it in the fridge overnight to thaw. You will need 6 x 250 ml round pie dishes for this recipe.
Pat chicken skin and cavity dry with paper towel. Place in a large heavy-based saucepan and cover with water. Add roughly chopped carrots, celery and bay leaf, and bring to the boil, skimming any impurites from the surface. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours. Remove chicken from stock. Strain stock and reserve 500ml, discarding solids. Store leftover stock in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 1 month. Remove chicken meat from bones, discarding the bones and skin. Shred meat and set aside.
Melt butter in a large deep frying pan over medium heat. Add finely chopped carrots, onions, potato and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Slowly add reserved stock and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until a smooth sauce. Add chicken, peas and cream, stirring to combine. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 °C. Roll out pastry on a floured surface until 4mm thick. Cut into 6 x 15 cm rounds, re-rolling scraps as necessary. Spoon pie filling into 6 x 250 ml round pie dishes. Brush edge of dishes with egg wash, top each with a pastry round, and, using a fork, crimp edges to seal. Brush pastry tops with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden.
Photography Alan Benson