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A large pie of succulent chicken and mushrooms in a creamy, lightly thickened sauce.
|Rough Puff pastry (see mince pies)|
|1 dessert spoon||Torn lemon thyme leaves|
|1||Knorr chicken Stock Pot|
|2 ounces||50 grams||Butter|
|Salt and pepper|
|16 ounces||450 grams||Mushrooms|
|3 tablespoons||Double cream|
|1 heaped teaspoon||Arrowroot|
Skin the chicken thighs and place in a bag with the thyme, stock, butter and pepper.
Vacuum pack and submerge in waterbath at 70 degrees Centigrade for at least two hours.
Remove bag from waterbath and plunge in to cold water.
Slice mushrooms and cook on plate or shallow bowl in microwave on half power for about 5 minutes until hot and soft, allow to cool.
Pour liquid and any jelly from chicken bag in to bowl with mushrooms, cream and arrowroot.
Remove meat from bones and add to bowl, discarding the bones.
Stir mixture and place in fridge.
Remove pastry from fridge and roll out to just larger than oven-proof pie dish.
Cut thin strips from pastry and press on to dampened rim of dish – to give firm base for lid.
Fill pie dish with chicken and mushroom mixture.
Place pie funnel in middle of dish to support the pastry lid and let steam escape.
Dampen pastry strips on rim and lay pastry lid over dish then press down all around rim.
Where lid sits on the funnel, push a finger through centre to create a hole for steam.
Pie can then be chilled in fridge for cooking the next day.
Heat oven to Gas Mark 7 (425 Fahrenheit; 220 Celsius)
Brush pie with beaten egg.
Cook in oven for 20 minutes and then reduce heat to Gas Mark 5 (375 Fahrenheit; 190 Celsius) for a further 5-10 minutes by when pastry should be golden and crisp with hot filling.
Thyme will do just as well but without the subtle citrus tang.
Turkey thigh and drumstick could replace the chicken but will need longer cooking in either a waterbath or oven.
I forgot the chicken which was in the waterbath for 6 hours and still tasted good and very succulent.
Instead of the waterbath, the skinned chicken and thyme can be slowly cooked in hot chicken stock in the oven at a medium temperature for an hour or so until tender.
For my holiday entertaining, I added some minced truffle to the turkey legs before they went in to the water bath and then added more plus additional fresh lemon thyme before the mix went in to the pie dish.
If I was making individual pies, I would line the bottom of foil cases with shortcrust pastry, fill with the chicken mixture and top with the rough puff pastry before chilling for 20 minutes. Heat a baking tray in the oven at maximum heat. Make holes in the pastry lids and then cook on the hot tray for 15 minutes at Gas Mark 7 and then 10-15 minutes at Gas Mark 5. You could also freeze the pies before cooking and then cook from frozen for 45 minutes at Gas Mark 7.
These pies could also be made with the left-over meat and gravy from a roast dinner – perhaps with some peas, sweetcorn or other cooked vegetables.
Penny Melville-Brown OBE
Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk
Helping disabled people to work since 2000