Leftover chicken is given new life in this hearty, flavourful pie full of vegetables and topped with golden buttery pastry.
One of the greatest things about growing older is realising that if you don’t like doing something you can just stop doing it. The one caveat is that you must then deal with the consequences, so it’s probably best to keep paying your rent and visiting the dentist. However, there is much joy to be found in taking a stand on the smaller things. I have improved my life immeasurably by ceasing to do the following;
- Shots. Fast-tracking liquor into my stomach is not fun or enjoyable. Get that tequila away from me and let me sip my G&T in peace.
- Making the bed with a top sheet. This one was imposed on me when I moved in with the husband, but I will never go back to the oppressive world of top sheets. Fitted sheet + duvet combo for life.
- Clinking everyone’s glass while cheers-ing. I do not have the patience to ensure my glass touches the glass of every other person at the table, so I have imposed a one clink per day rule. I don’t even know what to do with all this extra time.
- Ski-ing and/or snowboarding. I love the idea of spending the day on the slopes, but in practice I end up frustrated, sore and cold. I’ll still go to the mountain, but now it’s straight to the cafe to drink hot chocolate and read a book.
- Cooking with half an onion. Explanation to follow.
My newest rule was created during the testing of this recipe. I hate when recipes specify half an onion. You know what’s going to happen to that other half? It’s going to sit at the back of the fridge, forlorn and forgotten until it goes bad. Technically, half an onion is enough to give this recipe the flavour it needs, but you can go ahead an use a whole one anyway. I’m just quietly starting a revolution over here.
Although I love a good mise en place, I wouldn’t make it as a chef in a professional restaurant because I do not love being yelled at or regularly staying up past midnight.
Make sure the chicken mixture has time to cool before you cover it with pastry. Otherwise the butter in the pastry will melt before it gets in the oven and you won’t get that crispy, puffy, delicious pie lid.
I bought cookie cutters for Christmas shortbread (stay tuned!), but was happy to find another use for them. Make sure you leave a few gaps for steam to escape.
This is a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving/Christmas turkey or chicken – you could even chuck in any leftover vegetables or gravy.
So if I’ve blown your mind at the realisation you can just not do things, let me know in the comments what you’re going to stop doing immediately. Or maybe you’ve known this for a long time and already have your own list that you can share. I would propose a toast to ‘not doing things’, but my clink is very rare and exclusive so I have to be careful not to use it up too early in the day.
- 2 tablespoon butter or oil
- 4 bacon rashers diced
- 250g button or chestnut mushrooms quartered
- 1 onion diced
- 2 sticks celery finely diced
- 2 med carrots diced
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 2 t oregano
- 2 t thyme
- 500 ml liquid chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 3 cups cooked chicken roughly sliced
- 1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
- Handful fresh herbs e.g. parsley or chives roughly chopped
- Salt & cracked pepper
- 1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg beaten
Heat 1 tablespoon of butter or oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 1 minute before adding mushrooms.
Cook the mushrooms until they begin to brown. You want to cook all the liquid out of them so that they don't leak into the sauce later and make it watery.
Remove bacon and mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Heat another tablespoon of butter or oil in the pot, add onions and celery. Cook until they begin to turn translucent then add carrots and garlic.
Continue to cook for 5 minutes, moving the vegetables around so they don't stick. Add the herbs and stock, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan so they dissolve into the liquid, then bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 mins.
Make a slurry with the cornflour by dissolving in a couple of tablespoons of water. Add to the pot and stir through. (Warning: Do not add dry cornflour straight into the pot or you'll end up with lumps of cornflour in the pie)
Add the cooked chicken, sour cream, fresh herbs, bacon and mushrooms to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until ready to cook the pie.
Preheat oven to 200ºC. Transfer chicken mixture to a baking dish (makes enough filling for two 20x10cm dishes or one 20x20cm).
Cover dish with pastry and cut to size. Use a knife to slash vents for steam to escape. Alternatively, use cookie cutters to create pastry shapes and arrange on top of the dish.
Brush pastry with egg wash and bake for 15-20 mins until filling is hot and pastry is golden brown.