I have a list of firm family favourites which I often suggest when I set up a cookery training plan for a family. The one recipe which almost all families choose is chicken pie. Chicken pie is the ultimate comfort food. It has an old fashioned appeal, conjuring up sepia tinted thoughts and Karoo farm flavours.
Despite being such a loved dish, very few people actually make it at home and I don’t blame them, it’s time consuming. The ready-made product is available at almost every store, so opting for the short cut is just so easy.
I have for a while been considering ways to simplifying the recipe and think this may be a good option. Store bought puff pastry, ready roast chicken, mushroom sauce - combine. Easy!
The combination is just right, the pastry is light and crispy; the filling is thick and juicy and the whole dish looks pretty too. Serve it with a big salad and creamy mash for a seriously satisfying meal.
Open chicken and mushroom pie
1 x ready roast chicken
Break up the chicken and separate out all the pieces of meat you would like to see in your pie. If you like chicken skin, choose some good bits and cut that up smallish and add it to the chicken you are separating for your pie.
1 x roll of ready-made puff pastry, defrosted
Pre heat the oven to 220°C. Grease a baking tray and roll the pastry on to the tray.
Bake the pastry for about 15 – 20 minutes until golden and crispy.
For the mushroom sauce
250g of mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 Tbsp of olive oil
½ tsp of salt
½ tsp of pepper
½ tsp of cumin (optional)
½ tsp of coriander (optional)
1 Tbsp of soya sauce
4 Tbsp of flour
2 Tbsp of butter
1 ½ cups of milk
Heat the oil in a pan on high heat. Add the mushrooms and spices and fry until the mushrooms have reduced in size by at least half (5 - 10 minutes). If the mushrooms stick or dry out, add a dash of water to the pan. Add the soy sauce and fry for a further minute.
Remove from the heat and add the butter and flour. Stir until the butter has melted and mushrooms are coated with flour. Return to the heat and fry this for an extra minute or so. Remove from the heat again and add the milk. Stir until the milk and flour have combined before returning the pan to the heat. Stir gently until the sauce has thickened. It should be quite thick. If it is too thick, add a little extra milk.
Add the chicken, stir lightly to combine and spread it over the baked pastry.
Garnish liberally with fresh herbs – basil, thyme or parsley will work well. Serve immediately.