There's nothing nicer than a warming chicken pie with crisp, golden-brown puff pastry and creamy, rich sauce
- 60g unsalted butter
- 60g plain flour
- 250ml dry cider
- 250ml full-fat milk
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- juice ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp crème fraîche
- 3 medium leeks, sliced into rings
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced
- 500g cooked chicken, torn or cut into pieces
- 50g extra mature cheddar, grated
- 375g puff pastry
- 2 egg yolks, beaten with 2 tsp milk (to make an egg wash)
MethodStir this over a medium-low heat for 1 min to make a roux. Remove from the heat and start adding the cider a little at a time. Mix well with a wooden spoon to ensure there are no lumps. Keep stirring until all the cider has been added, then add the milk in the same way. Season, return the pan to the heat and, stirring continuously, bring to the boil. The mixture will thicken considerably and, once it has come to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 3 mins. Stir in the mustard, lemon juice and crème fraîche , and taste for seasoning.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- large skinless chicken thigh fillets, quartered
- 130g packet cubed pancetta
- large butternut squash (about 900g/2lb), peeled, seeded and cut into 2½ cm/1in cubes
- large onion, thinly sliced
- garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 200ml Italian red wine (see Goes well with...)
- level tsp plain flour
- 2 x 400g cans Italian plum tomato
- 2 tbsp 2 tbsp redcurrant or cranberry jelly
- loaf garlic and herb or plain ciabatta
- 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
- Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole and cook the chicken over a medium to high heat until lightly browned. Lift out on to a plate with a slotted spoon. Tip the pancetta, squash and onion into the pan and cook over a high heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown. Return the chicken to the pan, add the garlic and marjoram and cook for 1 minute. Keep back 2 tbsp of the wine then pour the rest into the pan and let it bubble for 5 minutes.
- Blend the flour with the reserved wine until smooth. Stir this into the pan with the tomatoes and their juice, the jelly and some salt and pepper. Lower the heat, half-cover with a lid and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until the squash is just tender. (To prepare ahead, cool then chill at this point up to a day before. You can also freeze it for up to a month. To serve, heat through in the casserole, then continue with step 3.)
- Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Cut the ciabatta into very thin slices and arrange on top of the casserole, so they casually overlap. Drizzle the last tablespoon of olive oil over the ciabatta and sprinkle with the parmesan and a good grinding of black pepper. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve straight from the casserole.
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
- 850ml hot chicken stock
- 50g butter
- 2 onions, chopped
- 50g plain flour
- 300ml milk
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 4 thin slices ham, cut into strips
- 500g pack shortcrust pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Put the chicken in a large pan with the carrots, potatoes, celery, half the thyme and seasoning. Add stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook gently for 15 minutes. Set a colander over a large bowl, pour in the pan contents and remove thyme. Reserve 600ml/1 pint stock (rest can be frozen).
- Rinse the pan, return to heat and melt the butter. Cook the onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, then the reserved stock a little at a time, to make a smooth thick sauce. Add the milk and simmer for 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the remaining thyme, lemon juice and parsley. Season.
- Mix together the chicken, vegetables and ham in a deep 2.2litre/4 pint ovenproof dish, preferably with a rim or lip. Pour over the sauce and leave to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C.
- Roll out the pastry to about 5cm/2in larger than the top of the dish. Cut a 2.5cm/1in strip from all round the pastry. Brush the rim of the dish with egg and press the strip all round. Brush with egg and lift the pastry on to it, pressing the edges to seal thoroughly. Trim off excess, then mark the pastry edge all round with a fork. Make 4 small slits in the centre. Brush with egg and bake for 25–30 minutes until crisp and golden.
- 3 leeks, cut into chunks
- small knob butter
- pinch dried rosemary or thyme
- 450g potato (1 very large baking potato is perfect), chopped into thick slices
- 140g melting cheese, such as cheddar, cut into small chunks
- 500g pack shortcrust pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Put the leeks, butter and herbs in a pan, cover and cook over a low heat for about 20 mins until very soft, stirring occasionally. While the leeks are cooking, put the potatoes in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 mins until just cooked. Drain the potatoes and stir into the cooked leeks. Leave to cool, stir in the cheese and season with plenty of pepper and salt if you want. The filling can now be chilled for use the following day, if you like.
- Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Divide the pastry in two and roll one of the pieces to the size of a dinner plate. Transfer this to a baking sheet and roll the remaining pastry and any trimmings to a round about 5cm bigger than the first. Pile the filling into the middle of the round on the baking sheet, leaving a 4cm border. Brush the border with the beaten egg, then drape over the larger piece of pastry. Trim the edges to neaten, then press the sides together with your thumb. Brush the tart all over with egg. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden. Leave to rest for 10 mins before cutting into wedges and serving with beans or greens.