A Spring lunch if ever there was one. Warm Chicken Pot Pie with dill potatoes and salad, cold beer and the boys. How Saturday, how May, how perfect!
To make from scratch, I won't deny, is somewhat of a lengthy process, but so worth it. So here goes, ingredients and recipe as follows:
Poach whole chicken with half a lemon inside, a spoon of corriander seeds, a medium peeled onion, herbs, 2 carrots for 45-60 minues, depending on the size of your chicken, until tender and cooked through. Meanwhile, put 350g plain flour, 170g cold cubed butter and a tsp of salt in a mixer, blitz to breadcrumb consistency, add ice cold water (approx 1-2tsp) until nearly combined, tip into a bowl and bring together with your hands. Form 2 fat discs, wrap in clingfilm and refridgerate for an hour. Remove the chicken from stock, let rest until cooled, remove meat from bones, shread into 'pulled' bite size peices, discard skin. (Reduce stock further, skim fat and store for future use). In a heavy bottom pan, make roux for béchamel (large 60g butter, plus 80g of flour should do it - cook out starch, careful not to catch, the consistnecy will become sandy and the smell will change when it's ready), simultaneously in another pan, warm approx 3-4 cups of milk and add milk slowly to roux in batches, stirring constantly until béchamel becomes silky and of a good, thick pouring consistnecy. Yum. Add salt, fresh black pepper, nutmeg and 1.5 tbsp of thyme leaves removed from stalks. Cook a little longer and then let stand. Steam 5 medium carrots (peeled and sliced thickly) and half an onion (cubed). Slice 8 medium shitake mushrooms. Drain vegetables and in a large bowl combine all vegetables including a cupful of peas, two thirds of the pulled chicken and the thyme-béchamel sauce. Roll out the first disc of pastry on a floured surface, line your pie dish, leave enough over hang for the folded edge. Fill pie dish with filling, roll out lid and finish pie by folding over the base to seal in the lid - see picture. Paint with beaten egg and create a centre cut for steam to escape (the cross in the middle). Bake in centre of oven for 45 minutes until properly heated all the way through (knife should be piping hot from centre) and the pastry has a wonderful golden glow. Let stand until warm and enjoy with salads and new potatoes, cold beer and friends. Eat cold the next day for breakfast....oh, that's just me.