Thursday, 31 January 2013

Chicken, mushroom and thyme pies

Even the word pie is comforting, this is a great meal on the run because it can be on the table in half an hour, it is also well received in mini version for lunch.
I think the idea behind Gran's recipe was to make it faster by cooking the chicken and making the sauce all in one pan, making it a great one-pan wonder for the busy people of the world. I concede that although home-made pastry is amazing with its rich buttery fluffyness, it is not the fastest way to get tea on the table, So I bought the ready to roll stuff from the supermarket and don't feel guilty at all (mainly because I have pie to make me feel better).
This recipe always makes me think of the Cromwell gorge in the summertime when the thyme flowers are blooming and the valley is swathed in a rich purple carpet of flowers that keep the bees happy for weeks.

  • 3 rashers streaky bacon (cut or scissored into 2.5cm strips)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped finely or crushed
  • 125g mushrooms (sliced)
  • 250g chicken thighs cut into 2cm pieces
  • 25g plain flour
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 15g butter
  • 375g puff pastry
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 1 Tblsp sesame seeds
 Preheat your oven to 200°C. In a heavy-based frying pan (I prefer cast iron but whatever you have is fine), fry the bacon and garlic in the oil until beginning to crisp, then add the sliced mushrooms and soften them in the pan with the bacon.

Toss the chicken in the flour and thyme (you could toss them about in a freezer bag). Put the butter in the bacon-and-mushroom pan before adding the floury chicken and all the flour left in the bag. Stir that up while cooking the chicken until it begins to brown slightly. Pour in the hot stock and stir to create a gravy. Simmer that for about 5 minutes, it will thicken.

Now you can choose how you make these pies into pies; you can take a large muffin pan and have bases and lids or you can take large ramekins or pie pots (most kiwis wouldn't own a pie pot, gran said they were very English!?) and just have lids. I tend to make muffin tray ones for lunches and just lids if I am serving directly for dinner.

In a muffin pan cut out your circles larger than the pan holes and place in (make sure you grease your muffin tin well or line with muffin papers). Divide your mixture between the cases. Make lids for each and place on top and press down the edges to seal. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

In pie pots make pastry rim (a 1cm strip around the top of the pot), use water to make it stick to the side if needed. Divide the mixture between the pots. Make the circles for lids larger than the pots, pop them on and seal them around the edges . Sprinkle the tops with the sesame seeds.

Cook the pies for about 15-20 minutes turning them around halfway through cooking. Once cooked, they should have puffed up magnificently.

  •  As you can see in my picture you can just pop the lids on the muffin sized ones without sealing but I think I lost a bit of gravy that bubbled out doing it this way

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