As I write this I am sitting at a cool café called Café Craft by the Canal Saint Martin. The cool kids’ neighborhood. I came here with a friend looking for a working space away from home. She did the internet research and came across this place. Common tables, where you can find individual work spaces with plug-ins for your computer or your phone and excellent coffee.
There’s chicken pie on the menu today. Oh oh oh. You’ll love this. I’m sure. This is one the hits we use to have while growing up. It was always a happy day when the answer to the question “what are we have having for dinner today?” was “chicken pie!”. Mostly we got this answer during the winter, it is a wintery kind of meal I think; that’s why I thought of making it now. I was inspired by the cold!
I invited some friends over for dinner and I wanted to make something that I could prepare before they arrived, something that wouldn’t imply me being away in the kitchen for half of the evening. Although I have to confess that in our apartment that’s not an issue… the kitchen is in the living room/dining room… the perks of living in Paris at this time. But still I wanted to be relaxed and enjoy the company. I was happy putting in the work before. I thought about lentils and salmon first, but decided to check with my friend and she didn’t eat lentils so I was back at square one. And suddenly genius hit me in the form of two words: chicken pie! Oh yes. The fact that I hadn’t had this for ages was even better.
My chicken pie only has a top crust, no bottom crust. I think it might be called “Pot Pie”… it makes sense. Everything is cooked in a pot before. Then you only have to fill your pie moulds or ramekins and cover them with the dough you have prepared earlier. You can do all of this even the day before your dinner party and then you have only to bake them in the oven to bake the crust and reheat the filling! It took me 20 minutes.
Hey, you can even freeze this pies in individual portions. If you are only two (like we are) then you can prepare the whole recipe, portion it and freeze whatever you are not eating that day. For this recipe you can get 8 portions, so have a delicious meal one evening and then freeze 6 portions. This means you will be looking forward to 3 more meals in the near future!! Thoughts and ideas. I’m definitely making chicken pie again and going for this option!
I think it’s time to cook! But before that a clarification: because I don’t like hard-boiled egg I don’t put them in my recipe… Just in case the photos made you wonder. And yes you read right. I just don’t. I love poached, scrambled and fried. I am weird that way, I know! I’m sure I’m not alone! I can always hope!
For the Pie Crust
Adapted from the cookbook Empanadas Argentinas
Flour 500 g
Butter 160 g
Salt 10 g
Water 175 g
For the Filling
Chicken 1 u
Tomato 4 u
Potatoes 600 kg
Onion 2 u
Peas 200 g
Bacon 200 g
Hard Boiled Egg (optional) 3 u
White Wine 200 ml
Chicken stock 220 ml
Tomato extract 1 tablespoon
Cut the butter in small cubes. Using the tips of your fingers mix with the flour and salt until you have obtained a sandy type consistency.
Make a whole in the middle and add the water. Mix until you have obtained an homogenous dough.
Cover in film and let it rest in the refrigerator for minimum two hours. I like to refrigerate it overnight, it makes rolling it out a lot easier.
For the Filling
For this recipe I prepared the dough the night before. This allowed me to work on the filling without worrying about anything else. I totally recommend it!
Properly clean your chicken removing any excess fat. Place it in a pot and cover it with cold water. Bring it to a boil. Discard the water. Re-fill the pot with cold water until de chicken is properly covered. Add one whole onion (that you previously pinched with some cloves), one carrot, bay leaf and some thyme. Let the chicken cook for about 45 minutes.
In the meantime chop your onions into small pieces. Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Cut the bacon into thin strips. And concasse your tomatoes, which means they should be peeled and seeded and cut into small cubes. To learn how to properly peal tomatoes watch the video below:
Cook the potatoes al dente. Potatoes should be boiled in a pot filled with [b] cold and salted [\b] water. Once they are cooked, strain and set aside.
Bring a pot with water to a boil. Add the eggs and cook for 12 minutes.
The eggs shouldn’t be cold when you add them to boiling water because they will crack. They should a tempered, which means they have been sitting at room temperature for a while. Also, once you add the eggs reduce heat and continue to cook the eggs in simmering water.
Cook the bacon (no need to use oil or butter as bacon is greasy enough by itself) over medium high heat until properly coloured.
At this point your chicken should be ready. Strain it, and using gloves (it will be hot) remove the skin and pull the chicken into small, small pieces. Set aside.
It’s important to pull the chicken when still hot!
Sweat the chopped onions in some butter. Cook them well, until transparent and soft. Add the pulled chicken and mix. Add the tomato extract and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomato cubes and cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
Add the wine and let it cook until it has reduced by half. Or until it no longer smells like alcohol.
Add the chicken stock, the bacon, the peas and the bay leaf. Let simmer for about 20 minutes covered with a parchment paper lid! Remove the parchment paper a cook for another 10 minutes. When it’s almost done add the potatoes and cook for 5 extra minutes.
Add chicken stock as needed! If you notice it’s drying up then add some more stock.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to 3 mm. It should be thin!
Cut a round/rectangle/square a few centimeters larger than your mold. This will totally depend on which kind of pie mold you are using!
Me for example I’ll be using some individual round ramekins and a rectangular big mold.
Using a ladle fill the pie mold of your choosing with the filling. Top with the sliced hard-boiled eggs (if you like them!) and cover with the pie crust.
Using a small knife remove the excess pie crust. For a simple neat finish use a fork to press all the way around the border of your pie mould. This is the simpler finish/decoration of your pie. You can go crazy here!! The sky is the limit! You’ll see on the photos I didn’t do this finish an all of the pies! I tried different ways. You should too!
Cut a small whole in the middle of the pie and make a small chimney out of aluminum foil that it will allow your pie to breath in the oven.
Beat an egg and using a pastry brush paint the top of your pies.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown!