Got a little extra time? Learn how to make a chicken pie from scratch (including the pastry) with this classic recipe from The Hairy Bikers
- 1 medium chicken
- 1 onion, peeled
- 6 cloves
- 1 carrot, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 6–8 peppercorns
- 450g plain flour
- ½ tsp salt or to taste
- 120g butter, cold
- 120g white vegetable fat, cold
- beaten egg, for glazing
- 250ml whole milk
- 55g butter
- 55g plain flour
Rinse the chicken in cold water and place it in a large pan. Stud the onion with cloves and add it to the pan with the carrot, bay leaves, stock cube and peppercorns. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked. This will take about 45 minutes–1¼ hours, depending on the size of the chicken.
Meanwhile, make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt together into a large mixing bowl. Dice the cold butter and white fat and rub them into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in just enough cold water to form a stiff paste. Turn this out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently to form a smooth ball of dough. Wrap in clingfilm or place in a plastic bag and chill for at least 30 minutes.
When the chicken is cooked, take the pan off the heat. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate. Put the pan back on the heat and reduce the cooking liquid to about 250ml. Pour it into a jug and leave to cool, then skim off the fat and discard it. Put the stock with the onion – cloves removed – into a blender and blitz. Add milk to make the stock up to 500ml.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut the meat into chunks and discard the skin and bones. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Gradually add the stock and milk, then bring to the boil, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minute or two to cook the flour. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then fold the meat gently into the sauce without breaking up the pieces. Set the mixture aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry and use it to line a 20–25cm pie plate. Add the cooled chicken mix. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg, roll out the remaining pastry and cover the pie. Trim off any excess and pinch the edges together to seal. Decorate the pie with leaves made from trimmings and brush with beaten egg. Make a hole in the top of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes.
In a hurry? Use ready-made shortcrust pastry to save time