Thursday, May 7, 2009

Traditional British Food, Part 2: Comfort Food

Yes, I made another pie, but I promise to make other things. It's just that this pie was quite possibly the best chicken pot pie I've ever eaten. Last post's chicken pie was subtle and sophisticated and very very good, but this one was the epitome of comfort food. It has bacon and a pastry crust! Admittedly, it's better suited to cool weather (the last chicken pie is perfect for spring/summer with its lemon and parsley) but that didn't stop me. Plus, Paul threw out his back and was in need of some culinary comfort. This pie fits the bill and you really should try it. The original recipe is here. My version:

Chicken and Mushroom Pie

8 slices bacon (approximately 6 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch-wide pieces
1 onion, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered if large, halved if small
Thyme (either a few sprigs fresh or a generous sprinkle dried)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup chicken stock (see previous post)
1/3 cup milk
4 cups cooked chicken (also see previous post)
salt and pepper
1/2 pound puff pastry (thawed, but cold)
1 egg, beaten

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and fry for 5 minutes until cooked but not crispy.
  • Add onions, mushrooms, and thyme to the skillet and continue cooking another 5 minutes or until the onions soften and just start to brown.
  • Add flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute then remove skillet from heat.
  • Stir in the stock and milk and add in the chicken.
  • Return skillet to the heat and bring to a boil. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce is thick and slightly reduced (you still want moisture but not too much liquid). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Put this mixture in a pan with a 1 quart (4 cup) capacity (9-inch pie plate, Le Creuset Oval Gratin 28, etc.) and place on a baking sheet.
  • Roll out the pastry (on a floured surface) to slightly larger than the pan and then place it on top of the pan. Trim and tuck under the extra pastry then brush with enough of the beaten egg to moisten the top of the pastry.
  • Cook in the middle of the oven for about 30 minutes or until pastry rises and browns.

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