We had a huge roast chicken for lunch on Sunday and even though I'm generous with the amount I put on everybody's plates, there was plenty of meat for left overs. The children were delighted, they thought it meant they would be having chicken rolls in their Monday lunch boxes so their faces fell slightly when I announced that I would, instead, be making a chicken and mushroom pie for Monday's supper.
Pies are good at any time of the year but especially in winter. They offer comfort, warmth and bolster the senses when making and eating them. Perhaps the best part is making the pastry - even if you make it in a food processor like I do, you still need to use your hands for the last part; the rolling, the draping, the piecing together and the crimping. Very tactile and very satisfying.
300g shortcrust or puff pastry,
a large knob of butter
3 sticks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped into fairly small dice
left over chicken, at least 300g, torn into large chunks
a couple of good handfuls of mushrooms, chopped into fairly large chunks
2 tbsps plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 pint of chicken stock
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degs C/180 degs C fan/gas mark 5
2. Add a lug of oil and the butter to a large pan over a medium heat. Add the celery and carrots, stir to give them a good buttery coating. Add a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper and then pop the lid on, turn the heat down and let them cook away for about 15 minutes until softened.
3. When the vegetables are ready add the chicken and stir. Add the flour, mix it in well, pour in the stock and stir again. Finally add the mushrooms, turn up the heat and bring everything up to the boil. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, then turn off the heat.
4. Pour the chicken mixture into a fairly deep pie dish...
...and roll out the pastry into a big fat disc to sit on the top. Tuck the ends under or crimp the edges, brush with the beaten egg and pop into the oven for about 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden.
5. Serve with potatoes of your choice and some buttery peas. Enjoy!