My ‘Foodie’ Idol and a Chicken Pie

All of us I’m sure have that one person that inspires us – that we are amazed by – that we admire.  When it comes to cooking – I would have to say my favourite chef is Nigel Slater.  He truly is in my eyes pure genius!  His cooking is simple, delicious and unpretentious.  I love him!  Being that he is also a food writer, his cookbooks are a joy to read – almost like a novel you can keep on the side of the bed.  I was excited to try out his recipe for a chicken pie with bacon and leeks…it did not disappoint – only affirming my affection for the one and only Nigel Slater.

You will need the following:

 – 1 package (with two sheets in it) Butter Puff Pastry
 – 4-5 pieces of chicken (the original recipe calls for half chicken breast – half bone in chicken thighs – I used 5 pieces of skin on bone in chicken thighs – because that’s what I had in the fridge)
 – 2 medium sized leeks
 – milk
 – 8 peppercorns
 – 1/2 onion
 – A bay leaf
 – butter 30g (which is about an 1/8 of a cup)
 – 6 slices of bacon
 – 3 lightly heaped tablespoons of flour
 – A little beaten egg and milk
 – grated parmesan
 – 1 Tbsp dijon mustard

Put the chicken pieces into a large saucepan, together with the half onion, peppercorns, bay leaf and enough milk to cover the chicken.  Bring to a boil, then when it starts to bubble, lower the heat and let it simmer partially covered with a lid for 20 minutes.  Remove the chicken, reserving the milk and pull the meat from the bones.  Cut into small plump pieces.

Set the oven to 200 C (about 392F).  Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the bacon, cut into small pieces and let it soften without colouring at a low to moderate heat.  Slice the leeks into pieces roughly 1 cm thick and wash them after slicing very thoroughly, then add them to the bacon and continue to cook for around 15 minutes until they are totally soft.

Stir the flour into the leek and bacon mixture.  Continue cooking for a few minutes then gradually strain in your warm milk to make a thick sauce.  Fold in the chicken, check your seasoning adding the mustard and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper.

Roll one half of your pastry onto a large baking sheet (I covered mine in parchment for easier cleanup). Spoon the filling on to the pastry leaving a wide rim all the way around.

  Top with the other pastry and clinch the edges well.  Brush with egg milk mixture, sprinkle with parmesan and make a few slits in the top to allow the steam to escape.

 Bake for 35 minutes until golden.  Serves 6

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