Ingredients

FOR THE FILLING
1 tablespoon pomace oil
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
30g unsalted butter
3 leeks, thinly sliced (including the green)
30g plain flour
1 glass dry white wine
500ml fresh chicken stock
250ml buttermilk
1 bunch of wild garlic (about 30 leaves), blitzed to a purée with about 50ml water
30g parmesan, grated
good grating of nutmeg
FOR THE PASTRY
420g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
250g ice-cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
60g parmesan, grated
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons ice-cold water
1 free-range egg, beaten
To me, chicken pie is comfort food personified. Lifting a big golden pie out of the oven and bringing it to a table of hungry mouths evokes warmth, family and cosiness. Here I have updated the much-loved classic with the addition of buttermilk, which adds a great tanginess that lifts the dish into something more complex. The inclusion of wild garlic (fast becoming a favourite ingredient of mine and increasingly widely available) not only provides a delicate sweet garlic note, but also turns the filling a vibrant, pleasing green.

Instructions

1.Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat.
2.Brown the chicken thighs until they are deep golden in colour. It’s best to do this in two batches. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3.Put the butter into the pan and once melted add the leeks and gently sweat for 10 minutes, until they are nicely softened but not coloured.
4.Next add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes.
5.Pour in the white wine and allow to bubble for a few minutes, followed by the chicken stock.
6.Simmer gently to reduce for about 20 minutes then add the buttermilk. Continue to reduce for a further 20 minutes until the meat is falling apart and the sauce is well thickened.
7.At the end stir through the wild garlic purée and parmesan, grate in the nutmeg and season well.
8.Transfer the filling to a bowl and leave to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.
9.FOR THE PASTRY
10.To make the pastry, put the flour, butter, cheese, cayenne and salt into a food processor and blitz until you achieve breadcrumbs.
11.Add a little water at a time until the pastry just forms a ball. Be careful not to make it too wet.
12.Tip the mixture onto a floured surface and bring together, making sure not to handle it too much.
13.Cut into two pieces, twothirds of the pastry for the base and the other third for the top.
14.Wrap each half in cling film and place in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
15.FOR THE PIE
16.When you’re ready to make the pie, dust the work surface with flour, then roll out the larger portion of pastry until it is the thickness of a dollar coin.
17.Dust the rolling pin with flour, and carefully fold the pastry over it.
18.Roll the pastry off the rolling pin and over a 23cm pie dish.
19.Carefully line the base, pressing the pastry into the sides of the dish, but do not trim the edges at this stage.
20.Fill the pie with the fridge-cold filling.
21.Using a pastry brush, glaze the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg.
22.Roll out the smaller portion of pastry to make the top.
23.Using the rolling pin, place the pastry lid on top of the pie.
24.Use a sharp knife to trim off the excess pastry to make a neat edge. You can push down the edges with a fork to seal them tightly, but I prefer to use the crimping method, pushing down with one finger towards the outside of the dish on the pastry edges. Pinch around that finger with the finger and thumb of your other hand to create a scalloped edge.
25.Roll out any excess pastry and using a cutter of your choice make a decoration for the lid of the pie (I went for wild garlic leaves).
26.Brush with the beaten egg glaze and return to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
27.Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190˚C/170˚C fan/gas mark 5.
28.Glaze the top of the pie once more, then bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and cooked all the way though.
29.Delicious served with buttery mash and spring greens.

© Slow: Food worth taking time over By Gizzi Erskine
Published by Harlequin, a division of HarperCollins

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