It's been over a year since I last blogged a recipe from the Pieminister cookbook. Last time it was the autumnal Sausage, cider and potato pie and this time from the Spring section its the Chicken, leek and cider (seeing a theme?!) pie.
I would love to take credit for the amazingness that is this pie, but I have to say this book is a total hero. I am no skilled cook, but everything that comes out of this cookbook is so good. I had to modify this recipe a bit, as it was originally for eight people, and involved cooking a whole chicken, but the flavours are all theirs and they work so well together. I cut the ingredients in half (I don't even have a pot big enough to cook a whole chicken!) and used chicken breasts instead.
To make the pie I used:
750g chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
1 large white onion, diced
3 leeks, cut lengthwise and then sliced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
a knob of butter
150ml single cream
200ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons of plain flour
three tablespoons (approx) fresh chives
ready made puff pastry (if its good enough for Delia, its good enough for me!)
I started by melting the butter in a large pot on the hob, then adding the onions and cooking until they went soft and translucent. My pot is a Linea one from House of Fraser (not Le Creuset, but works just as well for a fraction of the price and I use it loads for soup, curry and of course pies!)
Then I added the chicken pieces, and cooked them until they turned white on the outside. I then added the leeks and cooked them until they went soft, and had reduced a bit, as the pot was pretty full! Then I added the cider, cream, chicken stock and flour along with the tarragon, chives and seasoning, and simmered until the liquid had reduced to a thick, creamy consistency.
I then took the pot off the heat until it had cooled for about 20 minutes, before adding a pastry lid. I didn't do as well with the lid as previously, I think I got a bit over excited about pastry and put too much on! The original recipe suggests using a shortcrust pastry base, and a puff lid, but I left out the base as I wanted to cook everything in the same pot.
I used milk to glaze the pastry, as I didn't have any eggs left, and cut two slits on the top to let the steam escape. Then the whole thing went into the oven at 180 degrees C for half an hour. My biggest worry was that the chicken would be overcooked after all that, or I would have messed up the seasoning, but I needn't have worried. The chicken was well cooked, but still moist, and the flavour was amazing. The book suggests serving with spring greens and potatoes, but we just scoffed it as is, with the left over cider to wash it down.