Hannah of Rise and Shine was our October 2013 Daring Bakers’ hostess and she challenged us to bake our own double crusted savory pot pies. Using any from-scratch crust and filling we choose, we were allowed to get completely creative with our recipe, showing off the savory flavors and fillings from our own home or region.
I went with the pastry recipe Hannah provided (which was hands-down the best pastry I have ever made!), and a recipe for Chicken & Leek filling, from New Zealand’s Cuisine Magazine. The filling was a tad bland for me, so I added mustard and grated cheese into the mix which worked a treat.
Both the pastry and filling recipe seems to make a lot; even though I used a large deep pie dish, I had enough left-overs to make a small pie (probably two serves) another day (yay!). So, if you have a more shallow pie dish, and don’t want left-overs, you may want to reduce the quantities.
The family thought the pie was totally delicious and even better the next day when they polished off the left-overs. They’ve since put in an order for Steak and Guinness pie, which I’ll get to in the next few weeks.
CHICKEN & LEEK POT PIE
Flaky Pie Crust:
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) cold shortening, cut into pieces
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup (240 ml) ice water
For the filling:
- 1 smallish chicken
- 3 leeks, whites sliced into 1/2 cm thick rounds and greens chopped
- A handful of black peppercorns
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
- 150g butter
- 2 small onions, finely diced
- 1 stick celery, diced
- A few sprigs tarragon or thyme, leaves only chopped
- 150g flour
- 250g small button mushrooms
- 225ml cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-2 tsp mustard
- 1 cup grated tasty cheese
- 1 egg, beaten
- For the pastry: Mix flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Drop in shortening and quickly grate butter directly into the bowl using a cheese grater.
- Using your fingers, a fork or a pastry cutter, work butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it’s broken down into coarse, chunky crumbs. Stop mixing when the largest crumb is about the size of a pea. Using a fork, quickly stir in very cold ice water. (Note: You can do all this in a food processor instead, as I did).
- Turn the rough dough and crumbs onto a floured surface. Knead just until dough starts to hold together in a rough mass, up to 10 times. Do not over mix! You will be able to see chunks of butter in the dough and this is a good thing.
- Divide the dough into two portions – one a little bigger than the other (for the base) and pat each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before use. The dough will keep in the fridge for a full day, or you may freeze the dough for up to 3 months (and bring back to a thawed chill before rolling).
- For the filling: Place the chicken in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the green tops of the leeks, peppercorns, the quartered onion and the carrot. Bring to a simmer. Skim off any froth on the surface and ensure there is enough water to cover at all times (do not let boil). Simmer for 45-60 minutes, turning halfway during cooking to make sure it’s evenly cooked.
- Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Discard the vegetables then boil the poaching liquid to reduce by half and keep to one side. Once cool, pull all the meat from the chicken carcass in large chunks and reserve.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks and sauté until soft. Stir in the diced onions, celery and herbs. Sprinkle the flour over and stir well.
- Gradually add a few ladles of the strained chicken stock to loosen up the mixture, then add the mushrooms, chicken and cream. Add more chicken stock if the mixture is too unmanageable – you’re basically after a creamy, thick (but not runny) mixture. When you’re happy with the texture, season with salt and pepper to taste and add mustard and grated cheese (if using). Allow to cool.
- To assemble: Using a floured rolling pin on a well-floured surface roll out the bigger disc of the pastry to line a 24cm deep pie dish, leaving enough pastry to overhang the sides. Tip in the cooled filling and roll out the remaining pastry. Brush the edges with egg and place the lid on the pie. Press the edges together then trim any excess. Decorate the edges with the tines of a fork.
- Brush the top with egg and pierce with a knife to allow steam to escape (you can use leftover pastry to make leaves; brush with egg to stick on top). Bake the pie for 1 hour.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting