This is such a cheat, coz let's face it - I didn't even make it. Himself did, my lovely DinnerHusband and professional chef (honestly, it's really useful to have one of these around! They are a bit messy, being used to kitchen porters cleaning up after them in work, but I can live with that for the super tasty results).
We were checking out the fabulous BBC food webpage and came across this chicken pie recipe. We've been trying to widen the children's tastebuds, as we only get to eat a family meal once or twice a week and if I see roast chicken one more time, I might combust. And the little one does not like roast chicken. I coax it into her, but she far prefers her chicken to come in a gooey sauce.
So we had a great success last week with roast lamb, which they both liked, but it is very expensive. DInnerHusband suggested another roast chicken and I made a total "meh" face (and sound) so we went searching for something a little different that would re-ignite some kitchen interest and also tickle the junior tastebuds.
So, back to the chicken pie. The idea and recipe seemed easy enough, although we knew they wouldn't go for green pepper in a pie - to be honest, I wasn't breaking out in love at the thought of it either.
So the lovely DinnerHusband, full of brio after an early morning swim in the Irish Sea at Sandycove (yes, he is officially certifiable) said he'd take charge and do it, adapting the BBC recipe and the Avoca Chicken & Broccoli Bake recipe to come together as something new.
We bought a nice cheap chicken, and he put it on to boil. This could easily be done all the one day, but as it is a lovely long Bank Holiday weekend and we were kicking back taking it easy, he stuck it on to boil on Saturday, cooking it off before we had to take the junior miss to a birthday party (her first on her own - she was so excited!) and bring the older miss for a compensatory MacDonalds. All the more reason to want to get some proper nutrition into them the next day!
The process is simple; get a big old pot, stick the chicken in it (whole) with some veg - a roughly chopped carrot, a quartered onion, a few peppercorns, a chopped celery stalk and a couple of bayleaves. Bring to the boil and cook for about an hour. He also made a roux to be used to thicken the sauce later - simply melt 50g of butter and stir in 50g of plain flour over a low heat. Cook over a low heat for about 3 minutes, then leave to cool (preferably in a fridge for a few hours, but it's not a dealbreaker).
Then he just turned it off, and left it til the next day. On Sunday, he took the chicken out of the liquid and brought the liquid stock back up to the boil. Then he left it to boil on a high heat without a lid til the liquid was reduced to about a pint. He added a sprinkle of dried tarragon, a good splash of cream, and stirred in some mushrooms which he had sautéed in a pan (chopped large enough for my small folk to pick out - some things are a battle too far!). He thickened it all with the roux made earlier and chilled for a wee while.
Stripping the chicken down, he added the chopped up chicken to a large enamel dish (any oven proof dish would work) and poured the sauce on top.
Then he rolled out soma sheet of shop bought puff pastry (you do have to read the instructions to let this defrost in enough time) and popped it on top, brushed with some beaten egg and baked at 180C for about 30 minutes.
Bob's your uncle! Served with boiled potatoes, mashed carrots and parsnips and none of us were able to finish our plates.... Pastry, rich sauce, potatoes - I was as full as I have ever been.
Well done, that man! Thank god we replaced the broken dishwasher though... And I can safely say, it went down a treat with all the ladies in the house, from 40 down to 4.
While there were a few processes to follow, it really was not a difficult thing to make. A lovely dish to make for a cold autumnal evening. I suggest you send the small people off to the park with a responsible adult, and spend a leisurely afternoon making this yourself. Make sure that you have a good book, a pot of tea, maybe a glass of wine on hand, as there is some waiting around to be done while the chicken cooks etc. Might as well use it to your advantage!