Yes, it’s another pie. As a northern lass, I can’t go two weeks without making at least one pie. And there’ s something very therapeutic about the rolling of pastry. This time I had plenty of time, so I chose to make my own shortcrust pastry. Making it is incredibly easy – it’s just the half hour you need to put it in the fridge before you can roll it out which usually rules out making my own.
I made this for dinner with my sister and her fiancee, both of whom made suitable yummy noises, so I think it went down well!
This is based on a recipe from delicious magazine for a pot pie. As you all know, I don’t believe in pot pies – they’re just a stew with a hat on. If you’re going to make a pie, do it properly and put a base on it!
3 chicken breasts
500ml medium-dry cider
1 onion, sliced into 8 wedges
Small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked, plus a handful of sprigs
8 black peppercorns
1½ tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp plain flour
Grated zest of 1 small lemon
150g cooking chorizo, sliced
150ml double cream
for the pastry
300g plain flour, plus extra to dust
½ tsp salt
2 medium free-range eggs
Put the chicken in a flameproof casserole or large saucepan over a medium heat. Pour over the cider, then add the onion, thyme sprigs, peppercorns and a good pinch of sea salt. Top up with enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
2. Pass the poaching liquid through a sieve, discarding the solids, then return to the casserole and bubble for 30 minutes until reduced to 1 litre. Leave to cool.
3. Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan, then add the leeks and onion. Season, then fry over a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring, until softened and starting to take on a bit of colour. Stir through the flour and cook for a minute. Spoon into a large bowl, mix in the thyme leaves and lemon zest, then leave to cool.
4. Add the chorizo to the pan and fry until starting to crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon and leave to cool while you make the pastry. Discard the chorizo oil.
5. Sift the flour and salt into a food processor or large bowl. Add the lard and butter, then blend quickly or rub in with your fingertips until the mixture has the consistency of fine crumbs. Add 1 egg, whisked, and enough iced water (2-3 tbsp) to bring the dough together in large clumps. Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead briefly to form a smooth pastry. Shape into a flat rectangle, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes. Roll out and line a large pie dish.
6. Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan180°C/gas 6. Fold the chicken, chorizo, cream and 200ml of the poaching liquid through the cooled leek and onion mixture.
7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the pastry out to the thickness of a pound coin. Drape the pastry carefully over the filling and seal the edges. Trim away any excess pastry and use to make leaves to decorate the top, if you like, attaching with a little beaten egg. Brush the entire surface of the pastry with egg and cut a steam-hole in the centre of the pie top.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the filling is piping hot in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.