Happy British Pie Week to all!
In celebration I had to make a pie (for the first time) and share the adventure with you all.
I was toying with the idea of making a sweet cherry or apple pie but, I thought it would be more practical for me to make a savory meal that we could eat as leftovers the next day. Therefore, I decided that chicken and mushroom was the way to go.
Once I had a rough idea in mind of the ingredients I needed, I ventured out to my local supermarket. Upon arrival I quickly realised that Storm Emma had caused food shortages still and as a result there were no chickens in sight! I didn’t want to change my recipe completely because of this, so decided that ham would make a good alternative.
My main ingredients for the filling were…
- 2 cloves of garlic (one smoked, one unsmoked)
- 1 white onion
- olive oil
- 1tbs of tarragon
- 1tbs of mixed herbs
- 1 glass of white wine
- vegetable stock
- black pepper
- 1 leak
- 1 carrot
- 1/2 box of diced white mushrooms
- 1/2 box of diced chestnut mushrooms
- 3tbs of Light Philadelphia
I started off by chopping one white onion and my two cloves of garlic together, adding to a pan with a little olive oil. Once the onions had began to soften I added my black pepper, tarragon and mixed herbs, slowly pouring a large glass of white in and a vegetable stock cube just after. Then, I simply added my chopped leaks, carrots and mushrooms, stirred together and left for about 1 hour on a low heat.
Whilst my sauce was simmering away, I had my gammon cooking in the oven for about half an hour. I used gammon steaks because I didn’t have time to slow cook an entire joint and I wanted my pie to be more about the vegetables than anything else. When the two steaks were cooked through I diced them into chunky pieces and stirred them into the pan with the rest of my filling.
Once the sauce had reduced quite significantly and the flavors absorbed it was time to add the milk. It’s important to make sure the sauce didn’t split and the milk didn’t curdle, so I kept my pan on a low heat and left for a further 10 mins approximately. To finish, I added 3 large tbs of Light Philadelphia to the sauce (an alternative to cream) and set aside to cool down.
For the pastry itself I decided to use Just Rol short crust pastry ready made. Somewhat cheating but I was totally daunted by the thought of making my own.
My plan was just to make a pastry lid but, I changed my mind last minute because I wanted to cook something spectacular and beautiful to share with you all.
This led me to blind baking without beans. I did some Googling once more and managed to find an article about using rice as an alternative, and it actually worked pretty well I must admit.
I was impressed in terms of its baking but, the presentation was a mess. I trimmed the edges of my pastry before baking instead of after stupidly, so the edges didn’t reach the top of my baking tin once cooked. I powered through anyway and when the pastry had cooled down I added my pie filling and assembled my lid.
I had envisioned this neatly baked pie, gold all over with fork marks around the edges but, that’s not what happened at all. I think I over filled my pie for one and, in order for the lid to fit against the base I needed to stretch the pastry in places. The bake just wasn’t even. Also, I was in such a panic that I totally forgot to add an egg wash, which is why the colour is still pale once cooked for approx 30 mins at 180.
To sum up, I’m proud that I managed to make a pie and celebrate British Pie Week but, am sorely disappointed in myself for ruining the pastry. The pie itself actually tasted pretty yummy but the presentation sucks! I found myself flustered at many points whilst cooking this meal and finally understand a little bit of the pressure the contestants on Great British Bake Off must feel.
If you’re looking for a similar pie recipe to create at home I would recommend BBC Foods chicken pie recipe, which I had based my version on.