Don’t you just love those rare days, when you have absolutely nothing to do? Of course, days like that don’t really exist. But, if you’re anything like me, you can just procrastinate* and think up reasons why things can be left till tomorrow. It’s about the only way I can allow myself to unwind (and doubles my stress when the other deadlines approach, but it always seems worth it at the time).
It was on a day like this, when I decided to tackle my Achilles Heel of the cookery world. Something that I failed so miserably on at my last attempt, and filled me with shame in the knowledge that I’d fed it to people…
… my basic, run of the mill pastry pie.
After the eye-watering disaster of my previous pie attempt, I tackled the mission with my usual determined stubborn-ness. This time it’s going to be a fabulous pie, goddamnit. This time, it’s going to be a Chicken & Sweetcorn Pie.
First, I bundled up all my ingredients:
Ingredients (Serves 4)
3 chicken breasts (or 575g), diced
2 leeks, chopped finely (I don’t like big chunky bits, but it’s your call if you do)
300ml boiled water with 1 chicken stock cube dissolved
340g shortcrust pastry (I used frozen and let it defrost at room temperature for 1 hour before use)
1 tin of sweetcorn, drained
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
3 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 very heaped tbsp soft cream cheese
1 egg, beaten
I pre-heated the oven to 200 degrees.
Into a casserole dish, I put the chicken, leeks, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and chicken stock. I seasoned it generously with salt and pepper, stirred, then popped into the oven for 1.5 hours.
Taking the casserole out of the oven, I carefully sieved into a measuring jug (twas very hot), separating the juices from the filling. I discarded the bay leaves and set both aside for the time being.
I melted the butter in a pan, then added my flour. I stirred until it formed a paste (or a roux):
On a low heat, I gradually added the casserole juices and whisked, until it formed a smooth, thick consistency.
I added the rest of the casserole ingredients to the pan, along with the mustard and tin of sweetcorn. I turned off the heat and stirred in a big dollop of soft cream cheese.
At this point, it’s important to taste it and season, if necessary.
I cut my pastry in two and rolled them out on a floured surface; into rectangle shapes just bigger than my pie dish. I pressed the first layer of pastry into the dish, trying to make sure it came over the sides, and poured in the filling.
I placed the 2nd layer of pastry over the top, trimmed the straggly bits around the sides of the dish and embraced my romantic side with the leftover pastry. Awww…
I brushed the beaten egg over the top and made two slits within the heart to let the air escape (that sounds incredibly violent and gory!), and popped into the oven (200 degrees) for 40 mins.
Ahhh the golden wonderment… shame I had to attack it with my knife!
You could easily make this pie ahead, at various stages (up until it’s been casseroled, or once it’s assembled but before it goes into the oven).
It’s also a great pie for using up leftover chicken – just skip the casserole part and saute the leeks & herbs until soft, then set aside and start at the roux stage.
I thoroughly recommend you serve it with some fluffy, buttery mash and honey glazed carrots. Yummaaay!
* don’t procrastinate. It’s very, very, very bad for you. I’ll tell you why tomorrow…