Makes 4 individual pies
We use 500rnl (18fl oz) oval ovenproof dishes that are 17 x Il x 5cm (61/2 x 41/4 x 2 inch), to serve this. Adjust your pastry cutting to fit the shape Of your dishes, allowing a little extra for overhang. This dish needs to be cooked from perfectly cold, so allow for a 2 hour chilling period before baking.
YOU WILL NEED:
4 ovenproof dishes (or I large ovenproof casserole dish)
2cm (3/4 inch) plain pastry cutter
5cm (2 inch) fluted pastry cutter sheets of baking paper and a tray fine-mesh sieve baking sheet
FOR THE PIE FILLING AND ASSEMBLY:
- 120g pearl onion
- plain flour, for dusting
- 1—1.2kg cold Puff Pastry
- 2 egg yolks, beaten, for egg-wash
- 600g chicken breast, cut info 5cm (2 inch) cubes, seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra if required
- 120g streaky bacon, cut into lardons
- 100g small button mushrooms, quartered
- 10g flat-leaf parsley. finely chopped
- 4 quail eggs, hard-boiled (3 minutes in boiling water), shelled
FOR THE SUPRÉME SAUCE:
- 2 tbsp vegetable Oil
- 400g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
- I00g shallots, finely chopped
- I garlic clove, peeled and left whole
- 100g button mushrooms, sliced
- 300ml dry white wine
- I bay leaf
- I rosemary sprig
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 650ml Double Chicken Stock, plus extra if required
- 500ml double cream, plus extra if required
- 25g unsalted butter
- 25g plain flour sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pearl onions in their skins in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water for 5-7 minutes. Rinse under cold running water to cool, then peel and set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a rectangle, about 30 x 60cm (12 x 24 inches) and 2mm (1/16 inch) thick. Starting at the top of the rectangle and with the long edge facing you, use a sharp knife or a pizza wheel to cut out 4 oval lids of 14 x 20cm (51/2 x 8 inches). Alternatively, cut out 4 lids of the shape of your chosen vessels, or 1 large lid, as needed — you can place one of the dishes directly on to the pastry to use as a guide, making sure you add on an extra 2cm (3/4 inch) all around for overhang.
Use the 2cm (3/4 inch) pastry cutter to cut out a stearn ‘chimney’ in the centre of each lid. Next, from the bottom of the rectangle, cut away 4 full-length (60cm/24 inch) strips of pastry, each about 2cm (3/4 inch) wide — these will form the edges along the rim of each dish to support the pastry lid. Finally, use the larger pastry cutter to cut out 4 rounds of pastry in what is left of the puff pastry rectangle, then cut out a 2cm (3/4 inch) hole in the centre of each — these are the decorative rings for each chimney. Now brush a little egg-wash around the edge of each of the chimneys and lay 1 decorative ring on top of each chimney, pressing gently to encourage the seal. Stack the 4 lids and the long strips on top of each other, separated by sheets of baking paper, transfer to a tray and refrigerate until assembly time. Discard any leftover pastry.
To make the supréme sauce, heat the oil in a medium frying pan or wide saucepan over a medium heat, add the chicken thighs and lightly cook on all sides for about 4 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the shallots along with the garlic and mushrooms and cook until soft and the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme and reduce the liquid by half, still over a medium heat, about 6-8 minutes. Add the stock and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Stir and skim occasionally, removing any sediment. Pass through the sieve into a saucepan, then add the cream and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Simmer to reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small pan, melt the butter over a medium heat until frothy, then stir in the flour until you have a smooth paste and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously, over a low heat. Remove from the heat. When the cream sauce has reduced sufficiently, whisk a little of the cream sauce into the flour mixture until smooth, then return this to the supréme sauce, stirring to incorporate – you should have about 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) of sauce (don’t worry if you’re a little short – just adjust with additional stock or cream as desired). Season to taste, then cover and set aside.
Now you’re ready to work on the remainder of the pie components. In a large frying pan, sear the diced chicken breast in the vegetable oil over a medium-high heat until it colours slightly, then transfer to the saucepan with the supréme sauce, reserving the frying pan for the bacon and mushrooms. Bring the sauce to the boil, then simmer over a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the chicken is cooking in the sauce, sauté the bacon lardons in the reserved frying pan until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl and set aside. Now, still in the same pan, sauté the mushrooms until golden brown, adding a splash more vegetable oil to the pan if needed. Set aside in another bowl.
Using a slotted spoon, portion the pieces of chicken equally into the pie dishes. Then divide the pearl onions, mushrooms, bacon and parsley equally between them. Add one quarter of the supréme sauce to each dish. The filling should fill each vessel about two thirds full. Finally, carefully add I quail egg to each. Refrigerate for 2 hours or longer, until completely cool.
Preheat the oven to 2200C (4250 F) Gas Mark 7.
Brush the rim of each dish with egg-wash. Lay a strip of puff pastry all along the edge of each dish, pressing down gently in the centre of the strip to help it adhere to the rim, overlapping the 2 ends and egg-washing them together to form a seal. Next, egg-wash the whole strip and carefully drape the puff pastry lids atop each vessel, allowing for a 2cm (3/4 inch) overhang all around. Press down gently to form a seal between the rims and the lids. Brush each lid with egg-wash.
Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until deep golden brown (a few minutes longer if you’re making one large chicken pie). Leave to cool for 3 minutes before serving with your favourite mashed potato, green beans and a bottle worthy of your labour.
Recipe taken from Claridge’s: The Cookbook