Succulent Sweet Chicken Pie


Succulent Sweet Chicken Pie

This is one of those recipes I have developed over a number of years and is a mix-mash of ideas, ingredients and cookery styles. It incorporates traditional pie making skills from English cuisine, slow cooked stews from European cuisine and Asian/Middle Eastern spices.

It is one of the most frequently requested meals be it family, friends or guests on the farm. I make it all year round in one version or another, as it is not only one of Adam’s favourite meals but also a great tasting, comfort meal.

The main secret to the dish is that it has a gentle sweetness, which often brings a be-dazzled surprise to an unsuspecting taster.

I generally make it with chicken, but you could easily substitute beef, lamb or even rabbit. Although a few main vegetables are a must, such as onion, carrots and celery, you can add any other vegetable of your liking as additions or substitutes for the secondary vegetables listed in the recipe. PLEASE DO NOT be afraid to play with the recipe as it will always work, it is the spices and stewing sauce created by the cooking process which harmonises the dish and its flavours.

Furthermore, the pie can be made as one large pie from which everyone receiving a wedge, small individual serve pies or even tiny triangles which make a great appetiser. The pie can have a top and bottom crust, a top only or even be an open pie … there is simply no right or wrong way.

sweet chicken pie triangles

Makes 6 – 8 Serves

Ingredients

750 grams of cubed chicken (I tend to use chicken thighs as they have more flavour)
2 medium onions (sliced)
2 large carrots (sliced)
1 large carrot (grated)
3 celery stalks (chopped roughly)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 thumb of ginger (finely chopped)
1 mild or hot chilli (finely chopped) – optional
3 teaspoons of dry curry powder (I use a ratio of 2 mild and 1 hot)
2 tablespoons honey
½ cup sultanas
salt and pepper
2 teaspoons oil
1½ cups chicken or vegetable stock

Other Vegetables – approximately 800 grams of sliced and chopped vegetables – 1 red capsicum, a small potato or two, a small sweet potato, 1 cup broccoli, 1 cup cauliflower, 100 grams of leafy green vegetable (spinach, silver beet, Chinese cabbage etc), turnips, parsnips – whatever you like or is in the fridge.

puff and/or short-crust pastry to suit style of pie being made (600 grams approximately)

Preparation

1. Place oil into a large pot and add onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook for 2-3 minutes until ingredients begin to soften.
2. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes so it begins to brown, stir occasionally.
3. Add sliced carrot and celery and continue cooking for further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add curry powder and honey, mix thoroughly and continue cooking for further 2 – 3 minutes, before adding sultanas and other vegetables.
5. Cook for 5 minutes and stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot and to ensure that the flavours develop.
6. Add grated carrot and 1 cup of stock and gently simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until all vegetables have begun to soften. Be attentive, if it gets too dry add remaining½ stock.
7. Then remove from heat and allow to cool.

TIP

The longer you leave the filling mixture to sit and cool, the more the flavour will develop. I like to make the filling the day before or the morning I intend to make my pie/s. If standing for more than 2 hours, transfer to a lidded container and keep in a refrigerator until needed.

Also, if you intend to use the filling to make small pie triangles, it needs to be relatively dry with little or no excess liquid. The best way to deal with any excess liquid is to add a few tablespoons of cornflour to the filling mixture during the final stages of cooking process, so it thickens.

You can make your pie take any shape you like

8. Pre-heat oven to 220° C.
9. Prepare pastry and line the base of one large pie tin or several small individual pie tins, ensuring there is some overlap of pastry, so the pie can be sealed once completed.
10. Fill the lined base/s with filling mixture.
11. Moisten the edges of the pastry overhanging the pie tin/s and lay a sheet of puff pastry over the surface.
12. Press the two sheets of pastry gently together and crimp the edges of the pie so it is sealed.
13. Place a small cut in the centre of the pie crust to allow steam to escape and decorate the pastry surface with any left-over pieces of pastry if you like.
14. Place in oven and cook for 30 – 40 minutes large or 20 -25 minutes small, until golden brown and serve.