Difficulty Rating 2 or4/5
I’ve put this on here as although not exactly fine dining, you can make it the easy way or the more refined way. If you follow the refined way you will be amazed at how good a humble chicken pie could taste. The easy way will still be good though, what pie isn’t.
Ingredients: 400g chicken thighs pieces/2 big leeks white part only/ 150ml chicken stock/ 1 big shallot/ garlic/ 150ml white wine/ 125ml cream/ tbsp grain mustard/ tsp Dijon mustard/ bunch tarragon. / 2 tbsp agar agar-available at a well known supermarket-flakes( or 2hp tsp cornflour)/ puff pastry/ egg wash.
I’ll begin with the easy instructions.
1) Soften shallot,garlic and leeks in a pan. When cooked down nicely turn up the heat and add the wine. Cook on a high heat for a couple of mins. Now add chicken stock, cream and chicken. Simmer slowly for 20mins to cook chicken. Add mustards, salt and pepper to taste. Now turn heat up slightly and add cornflour until sauce thickens to correct consistency(think double cream) Add a good handful of chopped tarragon-if you can’t get fresh used dried but add to chicken stock with chicken pieces.
2) Set oven to 200c. Put sauce into oven-proof receptacle. Cut a 10mm strip of rolled pastry, press this around lip of dish. Then brush the strip and add a lid of pastry. Always cut the disc slightly bigger than the area you are mounting. It just makes fitting better. Then egg wash the top. Put in the oven for 15-20 mins. Check after 15 to see how it’s going. It’s done when risen and golden.
The refined way:
1) Poach chicken in chicken stock slowly at 80c for about 20mins. You may need more stock to cover. Then reserve 150ml of this liquid.
2) Soften shallot, garlic and leeks. Then add white wine and reduce by half. Now add reserved chicken liquid, cream and mustards.
3) Bring to boil, add agar agar and stir in. Simmer for 4-5mins. Put this in a container and set aside to cool. The mixture will solidify. But the agar agar adds no flavour so you are left with the lovely layers of flavour you have built up. Cornflour tends to neutralise flavours which defeats the object of going to so much trouble in the first place.
4) Take the solidified mixture and blend to a purée, add pre-cooked chicken and tarragon. Now follow instruction above for the pastry.
The pie was an absolute sensation. Fairly simple taste of delightful chicken and leeks. I could taste the chicken rather than just the texture, the chicken sauce, the leeks, the mustard and the tarragon. The consistency of the sauce was by far the best I have ever had. My only complaint is that is was a bit too mustardy for my liking.