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Posts Tagged ‘Pie’

Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon Pie

Our chicken pies usually have some kind of cream in them but we really liked this gravy version. Try and use chicken thighs instead of breasts if you can get them, but no matter. I think we can all be forgiven for using dried herbs rather than fresh at the minute too. Though our local grocer surprisingly had some tarragon. We divided this into two dishes and baked each one fresh over two nights – reheated pastry never works out so well.

Wine Suggestion: Pinot Noir makes a nice match for this dish, be it classic Burgundy or New World. As always with this grape, make sure it is fresh and vibrant – the rich, juicy and high alcohol versions with lower acidity just don’t cut it with food. Tonight we had a cheaper “Little Yering” from the Yarra Valley found in the bargain bin of a local. While it didn’t blow us away it was delightful with the food

Chicken, mushroom & tarragon pie – serves 4

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 400g diced chicken (we used thighs but breasts fine too)
  • 100g mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 330ml white beer
  • 300ml chicken stock or veg stock
  • 4 tbsp of chopped tarragon leaves
  • a ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry sheet (all-butter not essential)

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken. Remove it from the pan and add the onions and mushrooms. Cook these for about 5 minutes or until softened and browned.

Add 3 tbsp of flour to the mushroom mixture and keep cooking for about 5 minutes, then add the beer and stock. Bring to the boil while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the sticky bits.

Lower the heat, then add the tarragon, some seasoning, and return the chicken to the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened, then tip into a baking dish and leave to cool.

Cut the pastry sheet to fit the dish and lay gently onto the sauce. Cut a few slits in the top and make a decoration with the pastry cuttings.

Bake for 30 minutes or until browned.

(Original recipe from Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

Chicken, Mushroom & Tarragon Pie 2

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Leftover Pork Pie

We love a Sunday roast but when it’s just the three of us we often end up with heaps of leftovers. Diana Henry has a book called Food from Plenty which not only contains recipes for roasts but lots of ideas for what to do with the excess. We made this pie with leftover Mallorcan Spiced Pork. Serve with a green salad or buttery cabbage.

Wine Suggestion: as this is a very down to earth dish the wines that work have a grounded earthiness. A well made, terroir driven Chardonnay or Pinot Noir would be our choice. Tonight is was the Deux Montille Rully Chaponniere which was floral, citrus and pear aromas on the nose, but sappy, earthy and textural on the palate. Pure, fresh and engaging; a good combo.

Leftover Pork Pie – serves 6

  • 2 leeks, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 6 streaky bacon rashers, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 medium eating apple such as Cox, halved, cored & sliced
  • 450g leftover cooked pork, cut into chunks
  • 200ml cider or apple juice
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 25g brown or white breadcrumbs
  • 350g puff pastry
  • plain flour, to dust
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Melt the butter in a sauté pan and cook the leeks, onions and bacon over a medium heat until starting to brown. Add the apple slices and cook until they too have coloured slightly.

Add the pork to the pan with the cider or juice, stock and mustard. Season and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, add the parsley and breadcrumbs and stir.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.

Put the pork mixture into a pie dish and leave to cool a bit. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut strips off the pastry to stick round the edge of the pie dish. Lightly wet one side of the pastry strips and press down on the rim of the dish. Lay the remaining pastry on top and press down. Trim off the excess pastry and crimp the edges. Use any leftovers to decorate the top. Make a few slits in the centre with a sharp knife. Use a blunt knife to knock up the sides of the pastry all the way round to help it rise. Brush with egg and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and puffed up.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2010.)

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Chicken & apple pieChicken pie is an autumnal dish in our house and we usually try a different version every year. We particularly liked this one flavoured with cider and apples.

Wine Suggestion: A natural suggestion is to drink the cider you used to make the pie, and we finished the remainder of the bottle likewise. Our choice this evening was from Normandy, courtesy of our last trip to France. When matching a wine, we think the appley character of Chenin Blanc is what to go with. If your prefernces are French wine, then a Vouvray is a good choice; tonight we chose the Secateurs Chenin Blanc from Swartland in South Africa; a country that really excels with this grape.

Chicken, Leek & Cider Pie – serves 4

  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 60g plain flour
  • 250ml dry cider
  • 250ml full-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 3 medium leeks, sliced into rings
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 500g cooked chicken, torn into pieces
  • 50g extra mature cheddar, grated
  • 375g puff pastry
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten with 2tsp milk

Melt 40g of the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Continue to stir over a medium-low heat for a minute to make a roux. Remove from the heat and gradually add the cider, mixing carefully with a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until all the cider has been added, then gradually add the milk. Season and return the pan to the heat and, stirring continuously, bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, lemon juice and crème fraîche and taste for seasoning.

Melt the other 20g of butter in a frying pan and gently fry the leeks and apples for 5 minutes. Add 2tbsp of water, season, cover and cook over a gentle heat for 8-10 minutes or until tender. If there is a lot of juice you can increase the heat to reduce it.

Add the chicken and half the cheese to the sauce, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and heat the chicken through. Gently stir in the leeks and apples. Taste and add more mustard or lemon juice if needed.

Spoon the chicken mixture into a 25 x 20cm pie dish or a round dish 25cm across. The dish should have a capacity of 1.3 litres. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and leave to cool completely.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a euro coin. Cut off a strip the same width as the lip of your dish. Wet the lip and press the strip onto it. Brush the strip with water and place the rest of the pastry on top. Press the edges to seal, then cut off the excess. Crimp the edges and decorate the top with the trimmings.

Make 3 small slits in the pastry close to the middle, then brush the top with the egg mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and puffed up. Serve immediately.

(Original recipe by Diana Henry in BBC Good Food)

 

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Chicken & Morel Pie

We were so happy when we found a little jar of dried morels, until we got to the counter and realised they cost €25. We almost put them back only we had our hearts set on cooking this pie for dinner. We think they were worth it, but we’ll be better prepared for a shock at the till next time. It turns out morels are far from easy to come by and must be hand foraged and hence the princely sum. The fresh ones can be used for this dish too (though good luck finding them!) but you miss out on the nice mushroom stock from soaking the dried ones. If you see either sort and you’re feeling flush, we recommend trying them.

Wine Suggestion: We think this goes well with earthier reds like Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo especially if they have a little age and development.

Chicken, morel mushroom & asparagus one-pan pie – serves 4 to 5

  • 30g dried morels (or 100g fresh morels thoroughly cleaned)
  • 200ml chicken stock (you only need this if you have fresh morels)
  • 50g butter
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100ml dry sherry or white wine
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into large chunks
  • bunch of asparagus, snap off and discard the woody ends, then cut into 4cm pieces
  • half a pack of tarragon, leaves roughly chopped
  • 375g block of puff pastry (preferably all-butter)
  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze

If you are using dried mushrooms put them into a bowl and cover with boiling water, then leave to soak for 10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid and cut in half (keep the liquid and make it up to 200ml with some more water if necessary). You can set a couple of the nicest looking morels aside to decorate the top of the pie if you like.

Heat half the butter in a frying pan and fry the morels for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Heat the rest of the butter and cook the shallots gently in the pan with the thyme and bay. When the shallots have softened, stir in the flour and cook for a minute or until a paste forms.

Pour in the sherry or wine and sizzle, then stir in the mushroom liquid (leave any grit in the bowl) or chicken stock, followed by the crème fraîche. Season well and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the chicken and poach in the sauce for 10 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove and discard the bay leaves, stir in the asparagus, tarragon and fried morels, then remove from the heat and transfer into a pie dish.

Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 8.

Roll the pastry out onto a floured surface to the thickness of a euro coin, then cut to fit the dish, and drape it over the pie mixture (a rolling pin helps with this). Liberally brush with egg, season the pastry with flaky sea salt, and arrange the reserved morels on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Potato Pie with Beaufort Cheese

What can we tell you about this pie? Well first of all it doesn’t look remotely like the picture in the book and there were a few moments of panic when the cream started to run out the sides. Despite our wholly inadequate pastry skills and some last minute patching to stop the leaks, it tasted pretty good and didn’t look half as bad when it came out of the oven as it did going in. If you have a similar leak we advise remaining calm and sticking some pastry over the hole – pronto!

If you have trouble finding Beaufort,  Gruyere is a good substitute. Serve with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion:  an oaked white with a good freshness and texture is the best match for both the cheese and pastry. If you can find a white from Jura or Savoie you’re in for a treat but otherwise there are plenty of options. For something a little different we tried both the Sartarelli Balciana Verdicchio from the Marche in Italy and the Soalheiro Alvarinho Reserva from the Melgaço in Portugal and had a great match with both.

Potato pie with Beaufort cheese – serves 4 

  • 500g medium-sized waxy potatoes – we used Charlotte
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 cloves of garlic, lightly bruised
  • 25g-30g butter
  • 375g ready-made puff pastry in 2 sheets
  • 75g Beaufort cheese, very thinly sliced (a vegetable peeler works well)
  • ½ tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 egg beaten, to glaze

Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Steam the potatoes until tender, then cool and peel. Slice moderately thickly and set aside.

Put the cream into a small saucepan with the garlic and bring to the boil, then take off the heat, cover and leave to infuse.

Lightly smear a baking sheet with some of the butter. Roll out 1 pastry sheet thinly (about 2-3mm) and lay onto the baking sheet. Mark a circle on the pastry about 20cm in diameter. Cover the circle with half of the potatoes, arranging in a slightly overlapping layer. Season with salt and pepper then cover with half the cheese and thyme leaves, adding a few flecks of butter. Repeat these layers, then brush the pastry edges with beaten egg.

Roll out the other sheet and place over the filling. Clamp down the edges with your fingers and either trim to a round or if it’s easier fold in the extra pastry to create a thicker edge.

Brush the pastry all over with the egg and decorate with a fork (the decorating was beyond us and may have caused the hole so skip this step if you like). Make a hole in the centre of the pie about 5mm in diameter. Remove the garlic from the cream, then slowly pour into the pie using a small funnel. Do this slowly and allow the cream to settle before adding more. Stop when no more will fit – you might have a bit left over.

Put the pie into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Continue to bake for a further 20 minutes – cover loosely with foil if the pastry browns too quickly.

Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving in wedges with some dressed salad leaves.

(Original recipe from The Vegetarian Option by Simon Hopkinson, Quadrille Publishing Ltd, 2012.)

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Festive butternut and stilton pies

Forget nut roast. This pie is packed full of flavour and highly recommended as a festive treat when you’re fed up eating meat, or for a vegetarian friend; they’ll love you for this.

Also conveniently works with all the usual Christmas day trimmings and can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

You need to be fussy about the pie dishes as the filling needs to come to the top (so the pastry sits proud on the top and doesn’t sink). We used two small enamel dishes that hold 450ml water and measure 16cm x 11cm.

Wine Suggestion: If others are eating turkey then the same wine should be work pretty well for both. Given the earthy, savoury porcini and chestnut mushrooms a good choice, though, is a fruitier Pinot Noir. This may be a youthful village Burgundy or a fresh style from a similar region; look to Baden and Alto Adige for a good alternative. If you look elsewhere make sure the alcohol is not too high, as this can unbalance things.

Festive Butternut Squash & Stilton Pies – makes 2 pies (each one will serve 2 generously)

  • 25g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 butternut squash, about 800g
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme or rosemary
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 6 tbsp double cream or crème fraîche
  • 50g stilton, broken into chunks
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 140g puff pastry – we used one sheet of all butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

Soak the porcini in 150ml boiling water for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/Fan 180C.

Meanwhile, peel the squash, discard the seeds and cut into small chunks.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the oil, and fry the squash over a medium heat for 10 minutes or so – you want it to be caramelising nicely. Stir in the sliced chestnut mushrooms, chilli flakes, garlic & thyme or rosemary, and fry for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the brandy, then remove from the heat.

Drain the dried mushroom and reserve the liquor, then roughly chop. Add to the squash mixture with the soaking liquid (but leave the grit in the bowl) and double cream, then return to the heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat again, season, and stir in the stilton and walnuts. Divide the mixture between two individual pie dishes (see recommended size above). Leave to cool before covering with the pastry.

Cut the puff pastry in half and roll out on a lightly floured surface until slightly bigger than the dishes, the pastry should overhang the edges a bit. Use the scraps to make holly leaves and berries or some other festive motif. Stick to the pastry lids with a little bit of water. You can keep the pies in the fridge now for up to 24 hours.

When ready to cook, get your oven heated and brush the tops with the beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle a large pinch of sea salt and some black pepper over each. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown.

Serve with seasonal sides – we went for sprouts.

(Original recipe by Rosa Baden-Powell for BBC Good Food Magazine, December 2001. )

 

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Flageolet bean pie

A simple, warm, comforting and meat-free weeknight dinner.

Wine Suggestion: this is one where a good Pinot Grigio works, or more specifically a Pinot Gris from Pfalz in Germany or Alsace; dry, round and with good apple & pear fruits. Our choice this time is the Villa Wolf Pinot Gris from the Pfalz which finishes clean and refreshing but didn’t overwhelm the flavours of the dish.

Flageolet Bean Pie – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 x 400g tins flageolet beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or use dried thyme)
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  • dressed salad leaves, to serve

Heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for about 5 minutess until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the beans, crème fraîche and half the thyme. Season well, then cook until heated through.

Meanwhile, heat the grill to high.

Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese together, then stir in the rest of the thyme. Pour the beans into a baking dish and scatter with the breadcrumbs. Grill until the topping is crisp and golden. Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie

We love a chicken pie, particularly with sweet leeks and a rich creamy sauce.

Wine Suggestion: the classic suggestion, and our first thought, was to drink a lighter chardonnay with this, but we found a great alternative in the Salwey Weissburgunder “RS” which is a Pinot Blanc from Baden in Germany. An amazing wine with lovely fruit and a texture that holds it all together giving it a long finish and makes a good match with the creamy sauce and pastry. Every time we taste this wine we are impressed and think it is one to put Pinot Blanc back on the wine drinkers lists.

Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie – serves 4

For the filling: 

  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 3 chicken breasts fillets
  • 75g butter
  • 2 leeks, cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g plain flour
  • 200ml milk
  • 2-3 tbsp white wine
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g piece thickly carved ham, cut into 2cm chunks

For the pastry: 

  • 350g plain flour
  • 200g butter
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp cold water, plus an additional egg, beaten, to glaze

Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan. Add the chicken breasts and bring a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts and set aside, then pour the stock into a jug.

Melt 25g of the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the chopped leeks and fry gently for a couple of minutes, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute, then set aside. Add the rest of the butter and stir in the flour as soon as it has melted. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the milk to the pan, stirring well between each addition. Then gradually add 250ml of the reserved stock and the wine until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

Season the sauce, remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Pour into a large bowl and cover with cling film to stop a skin forming on the top. Set aside until cool.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and put a baking tray into heat.

To make the pastry, put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Keep the motor running while you add the beaten egg with water and blend until the mixture comes together in a ball. Carefully remove from the processor and set aside about 250g of the pastry to make your lid.

Roll the remaining pastry out on a lightly floured surface, turning frequently until about 5mm thick and larger than your pie dish. Lift the pastry over your rolling pin and gently place into the pie dish. Press firmly up the sides of the dish and make sure no air bubbles remain. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the sides.

Cut the cooked chicken into 3cm pieces. Stir the chicken, ham & leeks into the cooled sauce, then pour into the pie dish. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten egg and roll out the reserved pastry to make a lid.

Cover the pie with the pastry lid and press the edges together firmly to seal. Trim off any excess pastry.

Make a small hole in the centre of the pie with the tip of a knife. Glaze the top with beaten egg. Bake on the hot baking tray in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and piping hot.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Best of British).

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Chicken & Mushroom Pie

This is a lovely pie for a frosty day. Serve with lots of mashed potato and peas.

Wine Suggestion: this dish needs a white wine with a medium body as there is some subtlety at play with the flavours and weight. Classically we’d pair a sensitively oaked chardonnay with an earthiness and minerality so a better Maçon or Côte Chalonnais would be great. To step outside the box though look to a Vin Jaune from the Jura which adds a layer of nutty, yeasty characters, a lovely freshness of acidity and a rustic earthiness. Don’t go too sophisticated as this is a wholesome, honest pie.

Chicken & Mushroom Pie – serves 4-6

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 8 rashers streaky bacon, cut into large pieces
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 250g baby button mushrooms
  • handful thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 200ml milk
  • 500g pack puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan.

Season the chicken and fry in batches until golden brown.

Remove the chicken from the pan and add the bacon. Fry for about 5 minutes or until crisp.

Add the onions, mushrooms and thyme, then fry on a high heat for about 3 minutes or until the onions start to colour.

Add the flour to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Take the pan off the heat and gradually whisk in the stock, followed by the milk, then return the chicken to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Spoon the filling into a large pie or baking dish (approx. 20 x 30 cm) with a lip and leave to cool.

Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

Roll the pastry out onto a floured surface. Cut a long strip as wide as the rim of the dish and, using a little of the egg, fix to the edge of the pie dish. Brush with egg, then lift the rest of the pastry onto the pie. Press the edges together with your fingers and  trim with a sharp knife. Brush lightly with egg to glaze and bake for 30 minutes or until risen and golden brown.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Chicken & Ham Pie

This is a great way to use up leftover roast chicken (or dare we say turkey?) and ham. Almost as good as the roast chicken dinner itself and we are definitely considering this as a dish to use Christmas leftovers.

Wine Suggestion: This dish works well with a rich white wine. We tried it with an oaked Semillon, which on it’s own was delicious but with the pie the crisp acidity made it fall a bit flat. We’d suggest a good, oaked chardonnay instead which has much better weight in the mid-palate to work with the rich creamy chicken and ham. Yum.

Leftover Chicken & Ham Pie – serves 6-8

  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 400g broccoli florets
  • 25g plain flour
  • 225ml cream
  • 225ml chicken stock
  • 675g cooked chicken and ham, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon or marjoram
  • mashed potato (made from 1kg of potatoes)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, Gas mark 4.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry gently for 8-10 minutes or until completely soft.

Put a saucepan of water over a high heat and add a good pinch of salt. When the water boils, add the broccoli florets and cover until the water comes back to the boil. Remove the lid as soon as the water boils and cook the broccoli for 2-4 minutes or until just tender.

Add the flour to the onion and whisk for 1 minutes, then pour in the cream and stock, whisking all the time. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a minute or two until slightly thickened.

Stir the chicken, ham, herbs and broccoli in to the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Pour into an ovenproof dish (approx. 20 x 30 cm) and top with mashed potato.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Rachel’s Everyday Kitchen by Rachel Allen, Harper Collins, 2013.)

 

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Easy lemon meringue pie

An easy version of this dish that uses digestive biscuits as a base, but doesn’t lose anything in the eating. The filling doesn’t have to be cooked either. We made this for our friend Dave on his birthday.

Lemon Meringue Pie 

For the base:

  • 175g digestive biscuits
  • 75g butter

For the filling: 

  • 397g can full-fat condensed milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • finely grated rind and juice of 3 lemons

For the topping: 

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar

You need a 20cm deep fluted flan dish.

Pre-heat the oven to 190ºC/Fan 170ºC/Gas 5.

Put the  biscuits into a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Melt the butter in a pan, then take off the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits. Press into the flan dish and leave to set in the fridge. (You can do this bit a day or two in advance.)

Pour the condensed milk into a bowl, then beat in the egg yolks, lemon rind and lemon juice (don’t worry about the mixture thickening on standing and loosening again when you stir it). Pour the mixture into the biscuit-lined dish. (You can mix this filling, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 8 hours before baking).

Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add the sugar, a teaspoon at a time, whisking well each time. Whisk until very stiff and all the sugar has been added.

Pile spoonfuls of the meringue over the filling, then spread to cover to the biscuit edge, lightly swirling as you go.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light brown. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes, then serve warm.

(Original recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, BBC Books, 2009.)

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This is a really simple recipe for using up leftover chicken and is easily adjusted to suit what you have in the cupboard. We seem to serve almost every pie with peas and this was no exception.

Wine Suggestion: This went perfectly with a glass of Domaine Saint Denis, Macon-Lugny 2010; a great little white burgundy that has much more presence and character than others from this area in the Mâconnais achieve. I think this has something to do with the extra care that is made in the domaine’s vineyards and it really shows – delightful round flavours and a structured mid-palate of minerally apple fruits. A wine to look out for and really versatile with food. If this domaine is hard to find, look out for a St-Véran, or Pouilly-Fuissé instead!

Leftover Chicken & Veg Pie – serves 3-4

  • 350g cooked chicken, torn into pieces
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped quite small
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 4 sliced mushrooms
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • fresh herbs, chopped (tarragon or parsley would be good or use 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten

Heat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.

Heat the oil in a large pot and add the carrot, onion, garlic, and mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the carrots and onions are almost soft.

Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two before adding the chicken stock. Stir continually until the sauce boils, then turn down the heat and simmer for a further 5 minutes or until the veg is completely cooked through.

Add the cooked chicken, along with your herbs and plenty of seasoning. Stir briefly to heat through then transfer to a pie dish.

Brush the rim of the pie dish with the beaten egg. Then cover the dish with the pastry sheet and trim off any excess. Decorate the top with some leaves made from the pastry scraps and brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes or until well browned.

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Delicious chicken pie. Prepare the filling ahead, then add the pastry and bake to feed a crowd.

Chicken & Leek Pie – serves 6-8

  • 1.2kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
  • 2 large leeks, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • large handful of chopped parsley
  • 170ml milk
  • 250ml cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • puff pastry or mashed potato

Chop each chicken thigh into about 12 pieces and toss with the flour. Melt half the butter in a large frying pan and sauté the leeks for about 10 minutes or until softened. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

Melt half the remaining butter in the same pan and sauté half the chicken pieces until golden and barely cooked. Add to the bowl with the leeks. Repeat with the rest of the butter and chicken.

Mix the chicken and leeks together along with the parsley. Return half of the mixture to the pan, add half the milk and half the cream and bubble for 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and repeat with the rest of the chicken, cream and milk. Combine the batches, check the seasoning and cool.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Put the chicken filling into a 1.5 litre pie dish and cover with the puff pastry or mashed potato. Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Wine Suggestion: We are big fans of good Bordeaux white wine and this dish works well with the balance of flavours of oaked Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The toasty buttery character complements the flavours and the clean and fresh texture balances any richness of the dish. Look out for some of the smaller Chateau that are up and coming like Chateau Bouscaut; the 2010 worked a treat here.

(Original recipe from The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander, Lantern, 1996.)

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This recipe is rich with a natural gravy and very flavoursome and filling. Despite this it is very low in calories so perfect if you’re watching your weight or for a midweek dinner. We ate this over two nights (instead of three) as we were both a little greedy, and also because it was so moreish.

Gardener’s Pie – to serve 6

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, trimmed & chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled & diced
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled & diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 150g puy lentils, rinsed & drained
  • 1 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500g floury potatoes, like Maris Piper, peeled & cut into small chunks
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tsp plain flour

Heat the sunflower oil in a deep, large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the shallots, celery, carrots & parsnip for 8-12 minutes and until brown. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Stir in the lentils, stock, tomato purée and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes and until tender.

Put the potatoes into a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes and until tender. Drain and add the butter and some seasoning. Mash until smooth. Add a little extra butter if you’d like for a bit more richness.

Heat the grill.

Sprinkle flour over the simmered lentil mix and stir in. Cook for another 2 minutes until thickened. Spoon into a warmed, heatproof pie dish.

Top with the mashed potato and grill for 5 minutes , until golden. You’ll need to keep an eye on this as the time needed will depend on the griller.

Serve with: try a Beaujolais Cru, like a Régnié, which will have a both lightness and depth, plus a bit of earthiness to match the lentils. Beaujolais is never too heavy, and the Cru’s add depth and personality that is harder to find in a basic wine.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Mince and Onion Pie

Jamie's Easy Meat Pie

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe but we’ve reduced the amount of stock in our adaptation below as we thought the filling was too liquid. Easy and tasty for mid-week. We always have peas with pies.

Classic mince and onion pie – to serve 4

  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp Marmite
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp flour, plus a bit extra
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 large egg or some milk

Peel and roughly chop the onions, carrots and celery. Finely chop the rosemary leaves.

Heat a large casserole pan over a high heat. Add a couple of tbsp of olive oil , the vegetables, rosemary and bay leaves. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and have started to colour.

Stir in the minced beef and break up the chunks with a wooden spoon.Add the mustard, Marmite, Worcestershire sauce and 2 tsp of flour.

Dissolve the stock cube in 500ml of boiling water and add to the pan. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down  and simmer with the lid askew for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Fill a large baking dish with the mince filling and allow it to cool. Take the pastry out of the fridge about 10 minutes before you want to use it.

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.

Dust the work surface and your rolling pin with some flour, then roll out the pastry to the thickness of a £1 coin and big enough to cover your dish easily. Cover the dish with the pastry and run a knife around the edge of the dish to trim off any excess. Use a fork to crimp the edges and make a hole in the middle with a knife. Brush the top of the pastry with beaten egg or a little bit of milk. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

Wine Suggestion: an easy red wine, like a Cotes du Rhone or a Shiraz blend from Australia would work well; something juicy and with a moderate body but not too heavy at the same time. Easy drinking to match the easy eating!

(Original recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Ministry of Food, Penguin, 2008).

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One of those recipes that work because of their simplicity. The flavours all work together so there is no need to mess with them.

Easy Chicken & Corn Pie – to serve 4

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 400g chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 325g can sweetcorn, drained
  • 6 tbsp crème fraîche
  • handful of parsey or basil, chopped
  • 750g potatoes, cuts into chunks

Fry the onion and chicken in the oil for 5-10 minutes or until the onion is soft and the chicken golden. Pour over the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Add the corn, half of the crème fraîche,  the herbs and some seasoning.

Meanwhile, boil potatoes until soft, then drain and mash with the rest of the crème fraîche and some salt and pepper. Pour the chicken into a pie dish and top with the mash. Put the dish on a baking tray and put under the grill until golden.

Drink with: a glass of full-bodied, oaked Chardonnay.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This dish is easily doubled to make two pies, particularly if you are like us and had to defrost a whole packet of filo pastry.  The filo is very forgiving so don’t worry if you’re pastry sheets don’t look too neat and tidy. You could add some cooked chicken if you like things meaty.

Easy Veggie Filo Pie – to serve 4

  • 200g spinach leaves
  • 175g jar sundried tomatoes in oil
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ 250g pack filo pastry

Put the spinach into a large pan. Add a 2 tbps water, then cook until just wilted. Drain in a sieve, then squeeze out with your hands once it’s cold enough to handle. Roughly chop and put into a bowl. Roughly chop the tomatoes (reserve the oil) and add to the spinach with the feta and eggs. Mix well.

Unroll the pastry and be careful not to tear the sheets too much. Cover with some damp kitchen roll to stop it drying out. Take a sheet of pastry and brush really well with some of the oil from the tomatoes. Drape the sheet, oil-side down, in a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin, leaving some pastry hanging over the sides. Brush another sheet and place in the tin at a slightly different angle. Keep doing this until you have used about 3 of the pastry sheets. Pull the sides into the middle, making sure the filling is totally covered. Brush with a bit more oil on the top if necessary.

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cook the pie for 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and browned. Slice into wedges and serve with a salad and some tzatziki.

Drink with: a glass of Chablis which should have a saline quality to compliment the salty feta.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Fantastic Fish Pie

Sometimes the less complicated recipes are the best. Our fish pies usually have all sorts of stuff inside but this white fish, egg and parsley sauce combo was delicious. Perfect comfort food.

Fish Pie – to serve 4 

  • 1 small onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 600ml milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 450g unskinned cod or haddock fillet
  • 225g undyed smoke cod or haddock fillet
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g butter
  • 45g plain flour
  • 5 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1.25kg floury potatoes, peeled
  • 1 egg yolk
  • salt and freshly ground white pepper

Push the cloves into a couple of the onion slices. Put the onion into a large pan with a bay leaf, 450ml of the milk, all of the cream, and fish. Bring just to a boil and them simmer gently for 8 minutes. Lift the fish out with a slotted spoon and strain the cooking liquid into a jug. When the fish is cool enough to handle, break it into big flakes, discarding the skin and any bones. Sprinkle the fish over the base of a shallow 1.75 litre ovenproof dish.

Hard-boil the eggs for 8 minutes, then drain and leave to cool in cold water (so you don’t get ugly black rings). Peel and cut into chunky slices and arrange then on top of the fish.

Melt 50g of the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the reserved liquid. Return it to the heat and bring to the boil slowly, stirring all the time. Leave it to simmer gently for 10 minutes to thicken and cook out the flour. Remove from the heat again, stir in the parsley and season with nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and leave to cool. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain, mash and add the rest of the butter and the egg yolk. Season with salt and white pepper and beat in enough of the milk to form a soft mash that you can spread.

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6. Spoon the potato over the filling and mark the surface with a fork. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until piping hot and golden brown.

Wine Suggestion: keep it simple and try a dry and minerally Muscadet. There are some great examples of Muscadet around at the moment and for not much money so it’s worth a try with any other seafood too.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Seafood, BBC Books, 2001.)

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