A Timeless Bake
For those of you who may not know me, I was born in Sri Lanka but was raised in the UK since the age of 2. So, when I heard that it was British Pie Week last week, I knew that I had to whip up my own take on a classic British pie! It might be a new week, but you can make pies all year round using seasonal ingredients and flavors. Savory pies, for me, are one of the most quintessentially British meals. From your traditional steak and stout to internationally-infused concoctions, there is no wrong way to make a pie filling. I decided to tackle a Chicken, Mushroom, and Leek Pie to celebrate this classic meal.
The mushrooms in this recipe are from Mycopolitan; check them out! The golden oyster and shiitake mushrooms are some of the best in the area! When these delicate funghi are mixed in with hearty roasted chicken, gorgeous sauteed leeks, and a homemade bechamel, it makes for an unctuous filling that I can’t get enough of. Check out the recipe below; I hope this inspires you to make your own pie at home!
For the Pastry
(double this recipe if you’re doing a pie crust top)
- 1 1/4 cup white or wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter (cold)
- 3 tablespoons lard or tallow (cold)
- 6-8 tablespoons water (ice cold)
- 3 egg yolks + 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (for the egg wash)
For the Filling
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 lb of mushrooms, dealer’s choice (torn)
- 2 large leeks, topped, tailed, and cleaned
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- ½ sweet onion, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon of fennel seed
- 4-5 sprigs of thyme
- 3 cups of mushroom or vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Make your pie dough: Sift flour into a bowl and add salt, butter, & lard and “cut in” using a pastry cutter. Then add ice cold water and mix with a spoon, then split the dough in half and shape into two large disks 4-5inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for about 6 hours (best to do this one in the morning)
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Remove all giblets from the chicken, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. I recommend roasting a chicken instead of buying one ready-made from the supermarket. The meat stays juicier and you get to control the seasoning all the way through.
Roast your chicken for around 40-60mins depending on the size of the bird. I recommend an organic or local one from your butcher counter. Be sure to cool by loosely covering with foil to rest. Then strip all the chicken saving the bones (Top tip: save all the juices from the resting bird. This gives the sauce you are about to make a big punch of flavor!)
Make your filling. On a high heat in a large pan, sear your mushrooms and finish with salt, pepper, and olive oil. They are majority water, so getting a nice toast on them is crucial. Remove and set aside.
Now heat up some safflower or olive oil in the same pan, remove from the heat, and add your thyme and fennel seed. These will burn quickly, so add your onions and leeks in soon after the herbs and spices. Don’t be afraid to get some color on your onions and leeks.
Next, add the garlic and fry for a minute. Then, add flour and stir into leek mixture. Once the flour is fully mixed in, add stock and additional water if needed. Put chicken and mushrooms back into the pan and bring all the filling ingredients together. Cook on a medium heat stirring regularly for about 20 minutes until the liquid has thickened and the flavors have concentrated. Turn off the heat and finish with Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. (Top Tip: Don’t be shy with the pepper here. It adds a warmth that you need in this pie.)
Let cool entirely! Do not put hot pie filling into your pie.
Now it’s time to assemble your pie! Take your two doughs out of the fridge and unwrap. Flour your work surface and roll out your dough using a rolling pin. Once your dough is rolled out to the desired size (same size as your pie dish), use your rolling pin to roll up the dough and transfer to your pie plate.
Add your cooled filling to the pie plate and fill to the top of the dish. Then, place your rolled out pie dough over the top and seal with your fingers – be sure to post your best crimping efforts! Cut off any excess with your knife. The final touch here is to liberally coat the top of your pie with the egg wash and poke a few holes in the top for steam to escape.
Bake your pie: at 375F for 20-30 mins or until golden brown. Let cool before serving.