Mel's Chicken Pie ... mmm pie

This is my recipe for chicken pie, it can be easily adapted to suit, a great old fashioned, tummy filling, warm you up meal in one.

It is great because practically all of the preparation is done before your guests arrive, so you can spend time with them, not in the kitchen!

Firstly, here are the basic ingredients you'll need before you start

1) Chicken - I prefer chicken breast (white meat). Usually I make this to feed about 5-10 people so I would use anywhere up to 1kg. In this example I have used two large single breasts which came to about 750grams .. but this is not important.. adjust it to suit .. if I was just doing it for two people I would use two smaller single breasts and most likely have enough for two meals (get the idea?!!)

2) Root vegetables (Potato/Kumara/Carrot)- again highly variable, lately I have been increasing the proportion of kumara to potato. Here I have used 3 to 4 potatoes (depending on the size), half a large kumara and 2 carrots.

Then there are the extras/condiments, namely

3) An Onion, finely chopped

4) 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, I get mine in a jar at the supermarket, you could be really good and make your own.. add more if you really like garlic, but you don't want a "Garlic Chicken" pie ... well you might!

5) Enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot (a swirl??), I use Rice Bran Oil, because I believe everything I read! It is supposed to be better for you because it has a higher burning temperature.. canola oil would be fine, generally whatever cooking oil you use at home.

6) Chicken stock - 3 to 4 cups

7) And .. here it is ... da d d da d d daaa, the not so secret ingredient I use is tabasco sauce. I use a good 4-6 "Shakes" NOT "drops" but good hard shakes..

8) You will also need some flaky puff pastry for the top.. frozen pre-rolled is fast and easy to use.
Also, an egg and some milk for glazing.


9) More vegetables...
- a common addition is sweet corn (frozen is fine)
- courgettes would work (add them at the end)
... anything else you want to add or experiment with.. no guarantees!

Okay, so this is a pie I made last week for fathers day.


Step 1 - Chop the onion, veges and chicken.

Step 2 - Turn on the element to about half way, coat the bottom of the pot with oil. Don't be too shy, but we don't want the onion swimming either. When the oil is hot (not smoking) add in the onion and one teaspoon of minced garlic.

Step 3 - Continue to stir the onion and garlic, you want to let it sweat but NOT fry, we don't want brown fried onion.. if it gets too hot, turn the element down a fraction.. you can take the whole pot off the hot element while you add things in... take is slow.

Step 4 - When the onion is almost see-through, add in the chicken. Don't move the chicken for a good few minutes, otherwise the chicken will tear where it is stuck to the pot. The aim once again is to not cook the chicken right through, or to brown it off.. it will finish cooking as it boils later.. you just want to seal the sides of the chicken pieces.

Step 5 - While the chicken is getting some colour, get your chicken stock ready, this is were I boil the jug and put 4 heaped teaspoons of chicken stock powder into a pyrex jug, then dissolve it in about 3 1/2 cups of boiling water (you can always add more water later) EDIT! Maggi Chicken stock now tastes really,really weird, I only use "Continental" brand powdered Chicken stock, it comes in a red container in the supermarket.

Step 6 - Once the chicken is sealed but not cooked through (ie still a bit pink inside) add the chopped vegetables (leave the quick cooking ones til later). Then pour the chicken stock over. Try to remember to do it in this order otherwise you will end up splashing stock all over the place when you tip the vegetables in!

Step 7 - Now add in the tabasco sauce, give it about 6 good shakes (depending on how fast it comes out!!) - don't be shy though.. its a big pot with lots of liquid.. this will add the "warming" feeling when you eat the pie later .. yum!

Step 8 - Give it a big stir to get it ready for the long simmer. Then bring the temperature down (to about a 1 or 2) just so that is gently simmers away for the next 40-50 minutes.

Step 9 - Check on it every now and then to make sure it doesn't stick or burn, you shouldn't need to stir it all the time.. keep and eye on the liquids, the veges should only just poke out the top.

(Optional) - Part way through add additional vegetables that need less time to cook through

(Not Optional) - do the dishes!

Step 10 - Cut one or two potatoes to see if they are ready. The potatoes should give out enough starch to thicken up the pie, with this example it was fine as-is.

(Optional) - If they were the waxy sort and your pie is too watery, use flour (or similar) to thicken it up (dissolve 1-2 heaped dessert spoons into a little bit of cold water - add this to your pie, bring it back to the boil for the thickening to "happen")

Step 11 - Take the pie off the heat for about 10-15 mins to let it cool off before transferring to the pie dish, cover and let completely cool. Transfer to the fridge once cool enough to do so. Make sure you add all the pie "juice" as this will keep it tender later when you reheat it!

(Not optional!) - More dishes

Step 12 - Around an hour before you want to serve it, take some sheets of pastry out to thaw (usually take about 10-15 mins) also take the pie(s) out of the fridge

Step 13 - Heat the oven to around 190-200C (normal bake is fine - fan bake if you like that)

Step 14 - Put the pastry on the top of the pie and decorate with more strips of pastry (get creative). Seal the pastry to the edge of the pie dish. Mix/whisk an egg and a "splosh" of milk into a small bowl, use a pastry brush to coat the pie (I have been known to pour the mixture over the pie and use the brush to spread it out!)

Step 15 - Poke some air holes into the pie with a sharp knife. Put the pie dish onto a cold oven tray and place it in the hot oven. Leave it for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 16 - Take it out of the oven and let stand for 10mins before serving!

Step 17 - Serve and enjoy! ... mmm

Step 18 - Get someone else to do the dishes!

More Pie Photos!!