Wednesday, 13 February 2013

TBP: Life of Chicken Pi(e)

It's Wednesday, and therefore time for a Baking Project update! So last week I felt like making something savoury. The food we usually cook is fairly low fat, ethnic cuisine, so when I chose to bake something for dinner it was definitely a contrast to our regular dinners. I wanted to try pastry so I decided to make a chicken, leek and tarragon pie.

The first thing to do was to make the pastry. A fairly standard shortcrust pastry split into two parts, one for the base the other for the lid. I'd made pastry a few times before and I often make bread dough so this wasn't too hard. I did have a bit of trouble rubbing in the butter though. I haven't yet worked out whether it is more effective to use butter straight from the fridge or at room temperature when making 'breadcrumbs'. 

After probably too much kneading, I left the pastry to chill and made the filling. Not hard at all, just throw the chicken, leek, ham and herbs in together and add milk, butter and flour for a filling reminiscent of white sauce. 

The pie was also not too difficult to assemble. I made sure to roll the pastry out so it was thin - a few millimetres thick - and it luckily did not fall apart as I lined the dish. I've heard that even if the pastry breaks, you can leave leftover pastry to fill the gaps anyway which is rather handy. I laid a thin layer of pastry over the top for the lid, glazed with an egg and popped it in the oven. I only needed half of the pastry I had made for the pie, so I froze the rest for another time.

Before the bake
The pie was baked and voila! Out emerged a golden, crisp looking pie! I was optimistic. Now for the taste test.

To be honest, the filling was not for me. I was very happy with the pastry, I could just eat tasty pastry on its own and this was no exception. The top was crispy and there was no soggy bottom - something I was very surprised at! Although the chicken was tasty and the tarragon gave an unusual almost aniseed-like flavour. However my mum and I thought the ham was unnecessary, and if I made this recipe again I would substitute it for some vegetables, mushrooms, sweetcorn and perhaps something like cauliflower. 

The leftovers...

My mum had the leftovers the next day, just popped back into the oven to heat up, and I was told it was still good - maybe even better! 

I don't know whether I would recommend this recipe, but I would be interested in making another pie. What is your favourite pie recipe?

As it's Valentine's Day tomorrow, there's love in the air. I am not making any heart shaped biscuits I'm afraid. Next week's bake is however, a gift for J. I would not have chosen it myself, but it'll be interesting to see how it turns out! 

S. x

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