19 July 2009

Easy Chicken Pie

There are some dishes that appear on our table in many variations and with regular frequency. This is one of them. We love roast chicken, and this is one option for left-overs. A crusty pastry case filled with meat, vegetables and a creamy cottage cheese mixture. Apart from making the pastry (hardly rocket-science or terribly time-consuming), this simple dish relies mainly on assembly. Lazy cooking in stages which can be spread out over the day as you find time.

250 g flour
125 g butter
1 egg
1 tea spoon of salt

Mix the flour and butter, then egg and salt. You are aiming for slightly moist crumbs, combine into a dough, divide into 2/3 and 1/3 and press into disks, leave to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 200 C. Roll out the larger piece of dough and line bottom and sides of a tart tin with it. Sprinkle the base with some breadcrumbs - this eliminates the need for blind baking. Add the filling, then roll out the smaller piece of dough, lay on top as a lid. Take a fork and press the sides on top of the lid, seal and poke a few holes in the lid.

As a base, I mix two eggs with 250 g of ricotta or cottage cheese, whatever you have at hand. I would not hesitate to use cream or creme fraiche, come to think of it. Plus a little grated parmigiano? Add your left-over chicken, if you like some other meat for contrast. I had nice results with fried sausages and cured ham. I always add a grated carrot for moisture and minimal vegetable content, some fresh herbs, spices, salt and pepper. And anything else I have at hand, last time some sliced shitake mushrooms but I would recommend anything that compliments your meat(s) and is either already cooked, i.e. left-over, or has a short cooking time.

You may want to brush your bastry with some beaten egg, although frankly I am not fussed. Bake for ten minutes at 200 C, then lower the temperature and give it another 45 mins at 180 C. Let cool (at least a little). Eat with a simple salad or pickles. A great food warm or cold, good for picknicks and small children as it can be eaten without cutlery and relatively little mess (good for the parents, that!).

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