chicken pie, leeks and wild mushrooms
 
 

serves 2-3

8 skinned and boneless chicken thighs
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
2 leeks, trimmed and washed, finely sliced
100ml dry sherry
500ml chicken stock
40g butter, plus extra for greasing
40g flour
200ml double cream
125g wild mushrooms (or good flat mushrooms), sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
400g shortcrust pastry
2 egg yolks

1 Cut each chicken thigh into three and dice the bacon. Heat some oil in a casserole. Season the chicken and fry briskly until golden. Add the bacon and cook for a further minute.

2 Remove the meat, add the leeks to the pan and cook slowly for 10 minutes until they have collapsed and softened. Tip out any excess oil, add the sherry and simmer for a further minute. Return the chicken and bacon to the pan. Cover with the chicken stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

3 Remove from the heat, drain and reserve the cooking liquor, which should measure 500ml. In a separate pan, melt the butter, stir in the flour and cook gently for 3 minutes. Whisk in the cooking liquor and bring to the boil, whisking all the time. When the mixture thickens and starts to boil, simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often to ensure it doesn’t stick. Then stir in the cream.

4 Season the mushrooms. Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and fry the mushrooms briskly so that they colour to a golden brown and are cooked through. Stir them into the sauce along with the tarragon and all the meat. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Set to one side to cool.

5 Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3. Take a 32cm oval cast-iron dish and butter the inside. Divide the pastry in two. Roll out one piece to create a liner for the base and make sure it comes over the sides of the dish. Don’t worry about neatness. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, then blind bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

6 Remove from the oven. Trim the excess pastry and fill the dish with the pie mixture. Brush a little beaten yolk around the side. Roll out the second half of the pastry and lay over the top, then crimp the edges to seal. If you’re using a ceramic pie bird chimney, put that in the dish before you lay the pastry over the top. Otherwise, cut a hole in the pastry and make a little tin foil chimney and stick it in the hole.

7 Turn the oven up to 170C/Gas 3½. Brush the top with beaten egg and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the filling is piping hot and the pastry is cooked. Halfway through, brush again with egg yolk, which will result in a deeper, glossier glaze.