It’s getting nippy out, so here’s another comfort dish: pie. Mmmm… pie pants. You’ll need the extra fat for the winter.
This dish is homelier than Kirstie Alsopp’s knitted scones. It doesn’t have any cream so won’t put your stomach in a coma. Feel free to substitute broccoli or ham for the mushrooms. You can make up the filling, freeze it and then take it out on a day you have guests over or you just feel like eating a pie for 4-6 people. No-one here is judging you.
- 4-6 chicken thighs
- Olive oil
- A carton of button mushrooms (halved)
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 oz butter (plus some to fry the mushrooms in)
- 2 tbsp flour
- ½ pint milk
- 7fl oz chicken stock
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Small handful of parsley/tarragon
- 1 tsp mustard (or mustard powder if you have some lurking in the back of the cupboard)
- Generous dash of white wine (or 2 decent ice-cubes of wine if you keep some in the freezer)
- Block of puff pastry (holds up better than the rolls which tend to collapse into the pie dish)
- Salt and pepper
1. Cover the chicken thighs with water in a large pot and boil. Simmer for 20 mins. Then take the meat off the bone and put it a deep pie dish. Keep a little of the water in case your sauce is too thick later.
2. Fry off the mushrooms in good knob of butter and a splash of olive oil and add to the chicken.
3. Fry off the onion and add the garlic and throw into the pie dish as well.
4. Melt the butter, add the flour and cook for 3 minutes on a medium heat (stirring with a wooden spoon). Add the milk, stock, salt and pepper and simmer for 5 mins whilst stirring with a whisk. This is a basic white sauce. Add the mustard, wine and herbs. If it looks a bit thick add a little of the chicken water. It should be creamy.
5. Pour the sauce over the chicken, mushrooms and onions in the dish and gently mix through. (NB: if you’re freezing it do it at this stage when cool and then defrost and top with pastry for the final stage in the oven).
6. Roll out the pastry to a circle slightly larger than the pie dish and make a small slit in the centre before placing on top of the filling. Wet your fingers and run them around the inside top inch of the dish and then press the pastry onto it. Make indentations with a knife all the way around the top for aforementioned homeliness. Brush with egg if you like and write your name and address
with any excess pastry. Then you can pretend it’s a parcel for yourself and act all surprised.
7. Put in a 200c overn for 30 mins. Serve with greens.