Autumn is definitely here, I can vouch for that. Restaurants have even started advertising Christmas lunches and I have started seeing meat pies and the like in supermarkets.
After a spectacular and busy summer, we are back to gloomy, windy and rainy days. As strange as it sounds, I must say, I LOVE IT. Its time for soups, stews and one pot meals which brings us to this brilliant British delicacy....Chicken pot pie. This is one of Nigella Lawson's super easy recipes and I'm completely in love with the outcome. One thing I like about her is how she makes the process so simple, yet the outcome is extraordinary. This is an awesome brunch dish especially if you have a roll of puff pastry at hand. If you serve them in individual ramekins, its a perfect one pot dish. Yummeeeee!
Chicken breasts/ thighs- 250gms, boneless, cut into bite size pieces
Plain flour- 2 1/2 tbsp
Dried thyme- 1/2 tsp
Bacon rashers- 3 to 4
Onion- 1, roughly chopped
Butter- 1 tsp
Chestnut mushrooms- 125 gms, washed and dried
Green peas- 100 gms
Chicken stock- 325 ml
Freshly ground pepper- to taste
Salt- to taste
Olive oil- 1 tsp
Puff pastry- 2 rectangular size sheets, rolled
Put the diced chicken breasts, flour and dried thyme together in a zip lock bag and coat the chicken as evenly as possible. Keep aside.
Meanwhile, slice the bacon rashers with a pair of scissors and fry them till well done. Reserve the oil, but drain the pieces on a kitchen towel if you are feeling a bit psyched about the excess oil.
In a heavy bottomed pan heat the olive oil and bacon oil and sauté the onions till light brown.
Use the same scissors and slice the mushrooms and drop them directly into the pan along with the onion. Let them sweat it out for a while in there.
Add the fried bacon to this and sauté for about a minute or so. Season with salt and pepper if required.
In goes the butter. Once that melts, add the chicken slices and green peas and stir around a bit so that the flour and the onion mix are all well combined.
Add the chicken stock and on medium heat let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add more thyme if required at this stage. I did!
Get the pastry ready by that time. If you need to roll it out do so. I used already rolled out puff pastry, cut it in half and used it.
Divide the chicken gravy between individual ramekins (or a big casserole dish) till about 3/4th full.
Wet the rims with water, cut a few thin strips off the pastry and crown the ramekins (as shown in the pic below).
Cut a rough circle from the remaining pastry and place them carefully over the ramekin, covering the top fully.
With a fork, make pretty designs around it just to let the pastry puff up and also, like Nigella says, it looks pretty.
Its ok if the puff pastry is uneven, the more rustic the better. It gives that homely look you know :)
Make sure you pierce a few holes to let off steam.
Place the ramekins on a baking tray and shove it into an oven pre-heated at 220C for about 30 minutes or till the pastries are nice and puffed.
Break the crunchy pastry into the hot chicken gravy, and dig in I say :)
You can of course add a few slices of garlic bread as well.
Notes: The veg. version would be to omit the chicken and probably add spinach or corn.
If you want it a wee bit spice, feel free to add some chilli powder :)