A celebration of suet and simplicity
Conventional wisdom has it that you should use leftovers to make a chicken pie. Not in this manor—poaching the whole chicken is well worth it here, not least because you can flavour your sauce with the reduced stock. Literally every ounce of flavour from that chicken finds its way into your pie.
I can never be faffed making a separate roux for this kind of pie—adding butter and flour and cooking through is much easier, creates less washing up and makes no discernible difference!
For the pie filling:
1 x 1½kg free range or organic chicken
6 fresh bay leaves (or dried if you can’t find fresh)
3 white onions
200g British chorizo, cut into small cubes
150g plain flour
200ml double cream
For the pastry:
350g self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
175g beef suet (shredded)
2 egg yolks to glaze
Preheat the oven to 200C. Place the chicken with 2 bay leaves in a large pan and cover with cold water—about a litre. You can add some aromatics, carrots and onions if you wish. Bring to a simmer and poach gently for 1 hour. Remove and allow to cool, then pull the meat from the bones and cut into chunks. Increase the heat and reduce the stock by half. Set aside.
Slice your onions thinly and add to a frying pan with a knob of butter, the chorizo and the bay leaves and cook over a low heat, stirring gently until soft and sweet but not caramelised—at least half an hour.
Now add your chicken to the pan with the rest of the butter and the flour. Coat everything in the flour and cook for 10 mins, stirring all the time.
Add the reduced stock and the cream and cook for a further 15 mins. Add some milk, stock or water if too dry. Place the filling in a pie dish to cool.
For the pastry, mix together the dry ingredients with your fingers. Add very cold water slowly until you form a dough. It should not be too wet. Roll out and place over the pie. Crimp the edges with a fork and glaze with the egg yolks.
Put into the preheated oven for 35 mins until golden, burnished brown.
Recipe: Luke Mackay