The dish is very easy to make, especially if you buy pre-made patty shells. There is a quick version as well as a traditional version of this recipe, depending on how much time you have on your hands.
- 8 patty shells or 2 sheets frozen, thawed puff pastry to make your own shells
- 4 small (800 g) chicken breast fillets or 1.6 kg whole chicken (see Note)
- 60 g butter
- 70 g (½ cup) plain flour
- 400 g can white asparagus (see Note), drained, reserving the liquid
- 2 cups (500 ml) stock from the chicken, or chicken stock
- fresh chives or parsley, chopped (optional)
- 1 tomato cut into wedges (optional)
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.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Cooking time 40 minutes to 4 hours depending on method
Resting time 10 minutes
The quick version
Preheat oven to 180˚C. Place chicken breasts on a baking paper-lined oven tray, cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes (depending on size), or until just cooked (for juiciest results). Cool the chicken and shred into small pieces. Now see "Both versions" below.
The traditional version
Place a whole chicken in a saucepan just large enough to fit. Add approximately 1.6 litres water until just covered, the less water that is added, the better the flavour. Add chopped vegetables such as 2 carrots, 1 leek and a few stalks of celery and 10 black peppercorns. Place over medium-high heat, bring to a simmer, adjust heat to low and simmer gently for about 1 hour until just cooked. It’s an advantage to let the stock simmer very gently for a clear soup. When the meat is tender, remove from the stock and cool the chicken before picking the meat off the bone, then shred into bite-sized pieces. Add the bones back into the stock and simmer for a further 3 hours for beautiful flavour. Remove any fat from the stock by placing a piece of paper towel on the top and removing, repeat as needed. Strain the stock and reserve 1 cup (250 ml), freezing the rest for another use.
Preheat oven to 160˚C if not already on. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add flour. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add liquid from the canned asparagus and keep stirring until sauce has thickened. Gradually whisk in stock, and continue stirring until thickened. Lastly, cut the white asparagus into small sections, add the chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Avoid boiling the sauce with the chicken added, as it can cause the meat to shred. Serve in pastry shells that have been briefly warmed in the oven and add some chopped chives or parsley and a tomato wedge (optional).
• If cooking a whole chicken, add: 2 carrots, 1 leek, 3 stalks celery and 10 black peppercorns.
• If making the shells yourself, do this first. Roll out the pastry to about 3 mm thick. Cut the pastry into about 12 cm circles (just large enough to line the tins) and place in deep fluted tartlet tins or pie pans, working into bottom corners. Trim edges and rest in a refrigerator for 1 hour. Cover each pastry shell, with foil or greaseproof paper, and fill with baking beans. Bake the shells at 180˚C for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Remove the beans and paper, place back into oven for 5 minutes, or until pastry is cooked through on the base. You may need more tart shells for the filling depending on size.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.