Individual Chicken & Vegetable Pies

The evolution of a recipe is a wonderous thing.  Ideas are taken from one recipe and imported into another ending up with a completely different outcome.  Way back when I made  Jamie Oliver\’s kick arse chicken and leek pie I pretty much followed the recipe to a tee.  The next time, the filling evolved into something different and I used Maggie Beer’s Sour Cream Pastry.  The evolved filling become reminiscent of the pies my mother cooked when I was growing up.  This time, the filling stayed the same, as did the pastry but the instead of a family pie, the dish evolved into individual pies; something I haven’t ever done before.  So please join me on my ongoing pie journey…you won’t be disappointed!

Grab a nice big pot, throw in a free range organic chicken, cover it with water.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer for and hour and a half.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the water and take all the meat off the bone.  Feed the skin to your favourite cat, dog, chook etc and throw the major bones back into the pot and simmer for another half an hour.  You will need some of the stock for this recipe but keep the leftover stock for another recipe, but don’t throw it away because it’s liquid gold.  Freeze it if you’re not going to use it straight away.

Heat butter in the frypan and then saute the swiss brown mushrooms.  Once they are soft, sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms, and work it in well.  Take a small amount of the hot stock and add it to the frypan.  You are trying to create a thick mushroomy sauce.  So keep adding the stock until you achieve the desired consistency.  Then  add a tablespoon or two of the cream and stir through.  Taste and season the mixture.

 In another frypan, heat olive oil.  Add onions, garlic, beans and carrots.  Saute gently until the onions are soft.  Add the shredded chicken and mix through well.  Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and work it in well.   You need to cook the flour in to remove the ‘floury taste’.   Again, you are going to be making a saucy mixture.  Add the hot stock and work it in.  Once you have the desired consistency, add a tablespoon or two of cream.  Mix it through well.  Taste and season if necessary.

Add the mushroom mixture to the chicken and vegetable mixture.  Mix through well and turn the heat off.  Let cool.

 While the filling mixture is cooling make the sour cream pastry.  I use a food processor for pasty.  Your butter must be COLD.  This is really important with pastry.  With cakes you need soft butter but with pastry the butter must be COLD.  I cut my butter into cubes, put the cubes into a bowl and then put the bowl back into the fridge/freezer while i get the rest of my ingredients ready.

Weight out the flour and put it in the food processor.  Add the cold butter.  Pulse it until you get a biscuit crumb consistency.  It’s at this step you’ll come undone if the butter isn’t cold.  You’ll end up with a big gooey blob.  When the butter and flour have reached biscuit crumb consistency add the sour cream and continue pulsing until a ball of pastry has been formed.  The reason you need to pulse the dough is to make sure you don’t overwork it.  It’s really important that you handle/work pastry as little as possible otherwise it will be tough when cooked.

Take the dough out of the processor, wrap it in plastic and put it back into the fridge for at least 15 minutes.  Pastry needs to be cold when you work with it.  To help keep the dough cold it’s a good idea to roll it out on a marble or granite board/surface.  If you don’t have one, it’s not the end of the world…although if it’s summer you may find handling the dough difficult.

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