Even the word pie is comforting. But then, it would be hard to deny the very real lure of pastry, especially when, as here, you know you're going to dunk it in gravied juices till its luscious lightness has become deliciously, soggily heavy. I concede, however, that making and rolling out your own pastry is not necessarily the speediest option, so I use bought, all-butter ready-rolled puff pastry and feel fine about it.
I make the pie even easier, by browning the chicken and making the sauce all in one go. And gold-crusted, welcoming pies for two people in half an hour is not bad going.
- 3 pieces bacon (cut or scissored into 1 inch strips)
- 1 teaspoon garlic flavored oil
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms (sliced into eighth inch pieces)
- 8 ounces chicken thigh fillets (cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1¼ cups hot chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon marsala
- 8½ ounces all-butter ready-rolled puff pastry sheet (9 1/2 x 9½ inch)
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7/425ºF. In a heavy-based frying pan, fry the bacon strips in the oil until beginning to crisp, then add the sliced mushrooms and soften them in the pan with the bacon.
- Turn the chicken strips in the flour and thyme (you could toss them about in a freezer bag), and then melt the butter in the bacon-and-mushroom pan before adding the floury chicken and all the flour left in the bag. Stir around with the bacon and mushrooms until the chicken begins to colour.
- Pour in the hot stock and Marsala, stirring to form a sauce, and let this bubble away for about 5 minutes.
- Take two 300ml / 1¼ cup pie-pots (if yours are deeper, don't worry, there will simply be more space between contents and puff pastry top) and make a pastry rim for each one - by this I mean an approx. 1cm / ½ inch strip curled around the top of each pot. Dampen the edges with a little water to make the pastry stick.
- Cut a circle bigger than the top of each pie-pot for the lid, and then divide the chicken filling between the two pots.
- Dampen the rim of the pastry again and then pop on the lid of each pie, sealing the edges with your fingers or the underneath of the prongs of a fork.
- Cook the pies for about 20 minutes turning them around halfway through cooking. Once cooked, they should have puffed up magnificently.