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Recipe #8: Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

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“Don’t ever change anything about this recipe” – The boyfriend, on eating this pie

Chicken is the ultimate pie-filling, yet it’s almost impossible to buy a good chicken pie. If the pastry’s not stodgy, the filling is niggardly:  white sauce with stringy bits of salty bird floating around in a lonely sort of way. Fortunately it’s so easy to make your own!

The secret to this chicken pie’s simplicity is to cheat. There’s nothing wrong with the pre-roasted birds sold at the supermarkets, nor with pre-rolled frozen pastry. Use both, and your biggest headache is going to be chunking your chicken without eating half of it. (My chickens always mysteriously lose both their legs and wings.)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large roast or barbeque chicken from Woolies, Pick ‘n Pay or similar.
  • 1 roll frozen puff pastry (‘Today’ brand is good)
  • 4 rashers streaky bacon
  • 4 leeks
  • 1 punnet button mushrooms
  • 1/2 packet powdered cream of mushroom soup (not cup-a-soup – the big packets)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A bit of butter
  • Milk to brush the pastry with
While cooking this pie, it is recommended that you drink cider.

While cooking this pie, it is recommended that you drink cider.

What to do

  • Remember to defrost your pastry in the fridge overnight. If you forget (I always do), you can defrost it in under an hour by putting it in a bowl of cold tap water. (Just make sure the packaging is waterproof, or seal it in a ziplock bag.)
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Chunk your chicken. As in, remove all the flesh from the carcass (you choose whether to keep the skin. I do), debone and then chop into good-sized chunks.
  • Chop up your bacon, leeks and mushrooms and fry in a generous pat of butter.
My dad made me take this photo because he thought it looked nice.

My dad made me take this photo because he thought it looked nice.

  • When they’re fairly well done, add the sour cream, white wine and mushroom soup powder and stir well. Simmer for a few minutes to allow the sauce to thicken a bit. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Put this in a good-size oven-proof dish, add the chicken and mix it all up nicely. Leave to cool a bit.
  • In the mean time, put a layer of cling film on your counter top to keep both clean and roll out your pastry so that it just fits the top of your dish. Place on top of the chicken mixture and trim off any excess. Use the trimmings to make decorations, if you’re so inclined. (Pastry is a bit like play-dough.)
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Pastry is a grown-up substitute for modelling clay

  • Brush with milk/egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you happen to have any.
  • Bake according to instructions on the pastry packet until golden brown.

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  • Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before serving with a green salad or mash and peas.
  • Leftovers will keep several days if refrigerated  When reheating, microwave for a minute or two first and then put in the oven at about 120 C for a few minutes to crisp up the pastry again.

Wine pairing suggestion

Knorhoek Sauvignon Blanc-Chenin Blanc

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While it’s a great idea to drink cider (especially one as good as Windermere) while cooking this pie, eating it requires white wine – preferably the one you used in the pie (a lesson I learned from the Coq Au Vin). A Sauv Blanc-Chenin blend is just the right combination of crisp and fruity. #Happiness

Time taken

  • Preparation: 20 minutes
  • Baking: 20-30 minutes

Dishes dirtied

  • 1 frying pan
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 oven proof dish
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Recipe #1: Left-over muesli apple crumble

Convert your unwanted food to sweet awesomeness.

Convert your unwanted food to sweet awesomeness.

I’m not sure if this  happens to other people, but I have a boyfriend who loves to buy food and then forgets he has it (for the simple reason that he never  opens the fridge or the food cupboard doors) so then he buys more of what he already has and the first lot of food that he bought sits sadly in Hefty zip bags (which he imports specially from America, presumably for exactly this purpose) until I haul it out and try to figure out what to do with it before it must be consigned to the bin, producing that special guilt that comes from throwing food away.

For example: he has six (6!) Hefty bags containing different kinds of sugar. He doesn't even EAT sugar!

For example: he has six (6!) Hefty bags containing different kinds of sugar. He doesn’t even EAT sugar!

Today I was wondering what to do with a quarter of a bag of cranberry and apple muesli, which had been bought a couple of months before for a camping trip and left to languish ever since. There were also some apples – not granny smiths that are recommended for cooking – but golden delicious and some fancy red varietal from Woolies, which had been maturing in a fruit bowl for several weeks. It was cold and rainy and I needed an excuse to turn on the oven and heat up the apartment. So I made an apple crumble.

If you too have months-old muesli and apples that are getting a little wrinkly, here’s how to get rid of them and make your whole house smell happy in one go.

Ingredients

Crumble:

  • A cup or two of muesli. Can be any kind. If you don’t have muesli, use oats. Tiger Oats are better, but you could get away with Jungle Oats too.
  • About half a cup of flour – plain or self-raising. Don’t stress.
  • Some sugar. You decide how much. It depends on how healthy you want to be. I used half a cup (ish)
  • Half a cup of butter. This is a stupid measurement, I know, because butter doesn’t come in cups. Sorry.
  • A few raisins. They go nice and crunchy in the oven.

Filling:

  • 4 apples. Any kind. Don’t bother peeling them. Just give them a good wash, quarter, core and cut them into thin slices.
  • A handful or two of raisins. These get all nice and juicy in the oven.
  • A good sprinkle of cinnamon. Not turmeric. (Although I must say, a bit of turmeric can add a certain something to the flavour if you happen to sprinkle a bit on accidentally.)
  • Half a lemon – zest and juice.
  • Some sugar. Your call how much again. I used about three tablespoons.
I bought the raisins once to make boboti because I couldn't find sultanas. Don't listen to what the recipes say: Boboti is great with raisins. #justsaying

I bought the raisins once to make boboti because I couldn’t find sultanas. Don’t listen to what the recipes say: Boboti is great with raisins. #justsaying

What to do

  • Preheat your oven to 180 C. Get some kind of ovenproof dish to put everything in. You can grease it if you’re feeling diligent, but it really doesn’t matter. I didn’t.
  • Put the sliced apples and raisins in the dish. Sprinkle with lemon juice and zest, then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar.
  • Put the butter in a pot and melt until it bubbles nicely and goes a bit golden brown. Take it off the heat. Add the muesli, flour, raisins and sugar and stir well, then put the mixture on top of the apples, trying to cover them evenly.
  • Bake for 45 minutes.
  • Serve  hot with ice-cream, whipped cream, creme fraiche, greek yoghurt or sour cream. Any kind of cream-like substance will do.
  • Eat two helpings before remembering you’re supposed to be going to a dinner party shortly.
  • Tell boyfriend he may now buy more muesli.
Evenly distributed crumble. A proud moment.

Evenly distributed crumble. A proud moment.

Wine pairing suggestion

Backsberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

I made sure I finished this off too. Wasting good wine is the only thing worse than wasting food.

I made sure I finished this off too. Wasting good wine is the only thing worse than wasting food.

The robust tannins cut through the sugaryness of the crumble and the plum and blackberry flavours compliment the tartness of the apples and the sour cream.

Dishes dirtied

  • 1 pot
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 knife
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 ovenproof dish