I always skim through blogs and it seems that so many people take little breaks every now and then, and then bore their readers with their excuses, I will not do that. I’ve already wasted two paragraphs and a ridiculously cute photo going on about it, I’m now officially done. Full stop.
Next on this posts agenda is chicken. Chicken pie minus effort equals my kind of maths. (Well, if I’m being honest, even that much maths feels like too much…) That equation actually equals chicken pot pies but yeah, I take on any excuse to badmouth maths. (Algebra? More like boring-gebra!! That’s right, snap.). These pies are so nifty, so Nigella, so frigging good. When it comes to meals I pretty much have rice with everything, I don’t even remember the last time I had pasta with my spagetti, which kind of doesn’t make it spagetti, but I still tell people I have spagetti, I guess I like the thrill of the lie, no matter how ever so slightly boring that lie may be… But this time, when I spoke about my chicken pot pie dinner, there was no lying, there was no rice, I guess you could say these pies are helping me to be a better person, no more lying about pasta. I think I'm on the straight and narrow.
So here we have a bag full of chicken, flour and herbs, a photo which may not be so appetising, but oh so very useful, no flour everywhere, plus you get to shake that bag like a polaroid picture which is always going to be fun.
I’ve never made a sauce like this from scratch before, it was a little nerve wracking but upon the successful gravy making, pride was definitely felt.
An important part of the sauce was marsala. A lot of people only think of Italian cooking when they think of marsala, I will always think of visiting my Nan at 5 in the evening, mum in her work clothes with a scotch and coke, us kids in our school clothes and boiled lollies, and Nan with her marsala and coke. Fond fond. I had no coke on me but I decided to see what Nan was on about all those years. Alone, marsala is not recommended, i'll let you know how it goes with coke.
This part reminded me of when that guy made the kitten pie in young Einstein, I double checked my ramekins before putting them in the oven, I didn’t need that kind of bad press.
Lookit! They rise!
It was so beautiful and spherical, I almost didn’t want to ruin it…
But I did, I ruined it good. No regrets.
Before I ruined it I ran out of pastry. Im not proud of this, but it happened, and you should totally do it too.
- 3 rashers streaky bacon, cut or scissored into 2.5cm strips (Nigella scissors everything, now I do too. Join us.)
- 1 tsp garlic oil
- 125g button mushrooms, sliced into 5mm pieces
- 250g chicken cut into 2.5cm pieces
- 25g flour
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1T butter
- 300ml hot chicken stock (I haven't tried it yet, but next time I'm going to try stock with no added salt, the whole thing was just a teensy bit salty... If it needs salt you can always just add it!)
- 1T Marsala
- 1 sheet puff pastry (you have to buy several slices in a package so you may as well use alot more than this. It would be wasteful if you didn't...)
- Preheat the oven to 220C. In a heavy based frying pan, fry the bacon strips in the oil until beginning to crisp, then add the sliced mushrooms and soften them in the pan with the bacon.
- Turn the chicken strips in the flour and thyme (you could toss them about in a freezer bag), and then melt the butter in the bacon and mushroom pan before adding the floury chicken and all the flour left in the bag. Stir around with the bacon and mushrooms until the chicken begins to colour.
- Pour in the hot stock and Marsala, stirring to form a sauce, and let the bubble away for about five minutes.
- Take two 300ml pie pots (if yours are deeper, don't worry, there will simply be more space between the contents and the puff pastry top) and make a pastry rim for each one - by this I mean an approx 1cm strip curled around the top of each pot. Dampen the edges with a little water to make the pastry stick.
- Cut a circle bigger than the top of eat pie pot than the lid, and then divide the chicken filling between the two pots.
- Dampen the rim of the pastry again and then pop on the lid of each pie, sealing the edges with your fingers or the underneath of the prongs of a fork.
- Cook the pies for about 20 minutes turning them around halfway through cooking. Once cooked, they should have puffed up magnificently.