It’s Raining Pies!

The hot Sydney summer is now gone and we have been inundated by rain!  It’s been at least 5 weeks of rain meaning we probably won’t be in a drought this year which is the only upside I see to this dreary month so far.   Unfortunately, all this rain leaves the outdoor activities at the door as we search to find more creative ways to stay entertained inside!  

Now I only have one active 2 year old, but for many who have more, rainy days can be very challenging to keep everyone happy! With the attention spans of young children being quite short in comparison to the average adult, the activities don’t seem to last as long as you would like them to.  From reading books, to playing board games, to setting up indoor sports or messy arts and crafts it’s easy to run out of options.  That’s when a good old DVD does the trick! Pop on Frozen or Dory and you now have time to do something for yourself. In my case that means cooking! 

Though it hasn’t been particularly cold, these constant wet days has altered my cravings for something a bit more comforting.   And there is nothing that says comfort like a good savoury pie!  Think a chicken roast with all your veggies and potatoes scrumptiously combined and encased in a puff pastry.  It’s a match made in heaven for rainy day cravings and movies on the couch!

I will have to admit, I like to make most of the pie from scratch (minus the pastry) to get the layers and depth of flavours, but this can also be made using store bought chicken stock.  What’s great about this pie is that you can make this in BULK! Which means if you decide to make your own stock it’s worth it!  You can make individual pies or a large pie and cut in quarters.  Either way, this recipe will give you 12 servings at least.  Just chuck the extra filling in the freezer and you have a few more dinners worth!

This dish is a definite winner!  It may even give you the title of “master” in the kitchen!  I sincerely hope you enjoy my roast chicken pie.

Roast Chicken Pie

with pear and walnut side salad

12 servings with the intention of serving 4 at a time

(8 serving fillings to go into freezer)

2.5-3.5 hours

Chicken pie ingredients

1 large onion or fennel

1 celery bunch

2 carrots

1 ½ cup frozen peas

1 roast chicken (roasted yourself or store bought is fine)

Extra chicken stock (store bought)for a top up if needed

1-2 tablespoons of rosemary or thyme

1 cup flour

3-4 medium potatoes cut in cubes

olive oil

200g of butter

salt & pepper to taste

puff pastry sheets

1 egg, lightly beaten

20cm square non stick baking pan

Pear and walnut side salad ingredients

Ingredients for 4 people

¾ cup of candied walnuts

  • To make candied walnuts bring ¾ cup of water in pan with 3 tablespoons of sugar. Add walnuts cook until walnuts have soaked up the sugar water. Set aside to cool.

2 cups of spinach

2 cups of rocket (arugula)

4-6 cherry tomatoes cut in quarters

½ pear sliced thinly long ways (1 ½ mm thick)

¼ red onion sliced thinly long ways (1 mm thick)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 lemon wedges (quartered)

1 tablespoon honey

Pie Method

first – roast the chicken

*If you want to cut down on the cooking time you can buy a chicken already roasted from your local supermarket.  If this is not an available service then you will need to roast the chicken.  

-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius

-baste the chicken with olive oil

-rub in sea salt, black pepper and rosemary or thyme

-lightly base the oven pan with olive oil and a bit of store bought chicken stock.  

-cover chicken with foil and cook approximately 45 min (maybe more depending on the size of the chicken.

-uncover the chicken and cook another 20 min until golden brown.

-set aside to cool

Second – boil potatoes (cook simultaneously with roasting chicken or making stock)

-chop potatoes in small cubes and boil for 8 min until al dente

-set aside, they will cook again

third – make the stock

-once the chicken has cooled, pull away all edible chicken and set aside (don’t throw away the bones and skin- we will use this)

-chop celery, carrots and onions or fennel chunky

-in a large saucepan bring 12 cups of water, a swig of olive oil, salt, pepper, celery, carrots, onion or fennel and the chicken bones and skin

-cook on high for 20-30min or until the stock flavours are present

-turn off heat and strain the liquid stock into a bowl.  

-with the solid parts, throw away the bones and skin and keep the carrots, celery, and onion or fennel- this will go back into the pie

 fourth – make a rue

-in a medium/large saucepan, melt butter

-once melted add the flour little bits at a time and stir

-you should have chunks of butter mixed with flour

-while constantly stirring, slowly add the liquid stock

-this will take a lot of stirring-keep going until you have a good amount of rue

-the rue should be like a semi-thick gravy

-add salt and pepper if needed after taste test

Fifth – combine

-heat oven to 200 degrees celsius

-add celery, carrot, onion or fennel, and chicken, and potatoes to the rue- stir

-add salt, pepper, rosemary or thyme after tasting if needed

-take pastry sheets out of the freezer to warm up

-once pastry is soft, fit one sheet into the bottom and sides of baking pan

-fill the cooled down filling onto the pastry up to the top of the pan

-place the second piece of pastry over the top and seal the ends and sides using your fingers

-make slits in the pie, like a checkerboard

-baste with lightly beaten egg

-bake in oven for 30min

-once finished, rest for 10 min and serve

salad method

-in a salad bowl combine chopped tomatoes, red onion, rocket, spinach, candied walnuts, and pears

-dress with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon, honey, salt and pepper

-toss salad lightly and evenly distribute to plates

Your dinner is served! Enjoy!

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