I love pies, who wouldn’t?! A filling of your choosing (hopefully with plenty of sauce) encased in pastry. Serve with chips or mash potato and drizzle gravy all over…yum yum! So as it’s British Pie Week, I had just the right excuse to try a recipe that I discovered in my ever growing collection of food magazines.
I came across this recipe at the beginning of the year and instantly it appealed to me. Chicken is my favourite meat and being a Somerset girl, I’m partial to a good cider. Mum was on board too, so I donned my apron and became chef for the night.
The recipe was pretty simple to follow, so for my first pie I was grateful for that. But like most first attempts of a new recipe there were a few hiccups. The main one was timings. The process from start to finish took a long time and for a family that is usually done with dinner by 6:30pm, we were all craving snacks while we waited for the dinger to go off at 7:45pm. The other hiccup was that during the simmer stage, most of the cider evaporated when only a little should have disappeared. Luckily we had an extra bottle on standby and could add a few extra glugs. On the whole though it was a good recipe; few ingredients, simple tasks, nothing too fiddly (apart from rolling the dough into three individual circular shapes) and my parents loved it. The flavour was tasty and the only criticism we had was a lack of sauce in the pie, but that could have been down to the large amount of cider that disappeared during the simmer.
I’m definitely going to make this pie again and if you too would like to give it a go, then the recipe is below.
Chicken, Leek & Cider Mug Pot Pies from the Dec/Jan issue of Baking Heaven Magazine p.107
Note: I halved the recipe as the original below makes 4-6 pies depending on the mug size
500g chicken thighs (I used chicken breasts instead)
400ml dry cider
100g full-fat crème fraiche
320g packet of ready-rolled puff pastry
Olive oil for frying
Sea salt flakes
Coarse black pepper
50g unsalted butter
Flour for dusting
Chop the chicken into 2cm nuggets then wash and trim the leeks (if not pre-prepared) and slice into thin discs
Heat a fairly large saucepan over a high heat and add a glug of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces with a pinch of salt and pepper and fry until all sides are more or less seared
Remove from the pan and put into a bowl, setting aside until needed
Put the leeks into the same pan with the butter and another pinch of salt and pepper and reduce the heat to low
Allow the leeks to very slowly caramelise, stirring occasionally – this will take a good 20 minutes or so
Once the leeks have cooked down, return the chicken to the pan and pour over the cider
Increase the heat to bring the contents of the pan to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered for 45 minutes – you want the cider to evaporate just a little
Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool
Preheat the oven to 200°C
Once the filling has cooled, add the crème fraiche and more salt and pepper to taste and stir well until mixed
Divide the mix between 3 ovenproof mugs or dishes
For the pastry top, unwrap the pastry then roll it back up into a tight spiral
Slice the spiral into 3 even portions
Place a portion of pastry spiral-side up then flatten into a disc with the palm of your hand
Roll it into a flat disc in a little flour, until just larger than the top of the mug and repeat with the remaining portions of pastry
Then place them on top of the mugs, tucking in the excess
Bake the pies for 30-35 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and puffed