Monday 13 March 2017

Chicken and Bacon Plate Pies

I was digging around for something to eat in the freezer, and I found some chicken thighs, and a pack of bacon I'd forgotten about (probably where it was a Buy-One-Get-One-Free thing, and I thought "I'll freeze the spare"). I thought that I had all the makings of a decent pie right there, so got them out to defrost.

I had to decide between a hot-water crust pie, or a puff pastry one. The puff pastry won, as I think my default pie is hot-water crust. I duely made up a batch of rough-puff (which I then realised I could do as a "Basics" post), and cooked off the chicken and bacon while whipping up a basic white sauce to go with it. I was able to do 2 pies on pie plates (possibly the simplest and yet best ways of making a pie), and start to finish was under 2 hours, even with a bit of faffing doing decoration. I even turned the leftover trimmings of the pastry into some simple palmier biscuits (though after being re-rolled a few times, they were more shortcrust that laminated).

The rough-puff I do is remarkably forgiving, and can be ready to use in under 20 minutes. The only real prep (assuming you keep lard and butter in the fridge) is to have some water in the fridge, and have a lot of flour ready to cover your surface.

This recipe makes 2 plate pies...which is handy, as it's delicious hot or cold, so you can demolish one immediately, and save the other for lunch the next day.

Chicken and Ham Plate Pies - Recipe

Rough Puff Pastry

Make 1 batch of fast rough-puff pastry. While it's chilling, you can make the filling

 Filling - Ingredients

  • 4 boned chicken thigh fillets
  • 150g smoked back bacon
  • 1tbsp sunflower oil
  • 35g butter
  • 35g plain flour
  • ~1 pint of milk
  • 1tbsp dried parsley
1) Place the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat

2) Chop the bacon into strips, and place in the saucepan.

3) Chop the chicken thighs into chunks, and once the bacon has browned off add to the pan, stirring to coat in the oil and bacon fat.

4) Place a lid on the pan and reduce to a medium heat

5) In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat.

6) Once the butter has melted, stir in the flour to form a dry-ish paste. Allow this to cook for a minute or two.

7) Slowly add the milk, and whisk hard. Making a white sauce is an exercise in patience and elbow want to add milk, then whisk until the consistency of the sauce is smooth...any lumps need to be removed, or they will stay as you add more milk. You also don't want to let it boil, so keep whisking!

8) Once you have the sauce at a thick, smooth consistency and texture, add the parsley and continue to whisk.

9) Once you're happy with the consistency, remove it from the heat.

10) Check the meats are cooked, and remove them from the heat.

11) Stir the white sauce into the meat. You may not need all of it (but be generous! No one likes a dry pie!)

12) Transfer the filling to a bowl and leave to cool. If you want it cooled quicker, spread it out on a baking sheet.

Assembly - Ingredients

  • Small bit of lard
  • 1 egg (beaten)

1) Lightly grease 2 pie plates with the lard

2) Chop the block of pastry in half, and roll out into a rectangle large enough to cover both plates

3) Chop the rolled rectangle in half, and line each plate with the pastry.

4) Put half the filling into each pie, filling the depression in each plate. Be generous!

5) Take the other half of the pastry and roll out to a rectangle the same size as the first half.

6) Brush the rim of each lined plate with a bit of beaten egg

7) Place the second layer of pastry on top of the first, sealing in the filling.

8) Using a sharp knife, trim all the excess pastry off the plates

9) Crimp the edges using your fingers and thumb to form a series of peaks around the edge.

10) Reroll the trimmings, and cut some decorations (I always do leaves...very traditional)

11) Brush the top of the pies with the beaten egg.

12) Stick your decorations on to, then brush them with beaten egg as well.

13) Place in the oven for 30 minutes. You should be able to fit both pies on a single level.

14) Remove from the oven, and either eat immediately, or leave to cool (or there are 2, do both!)