As promised last week, I’ll be sharing my Festive menu with you this week and you guys, we’re starting with a goodie. Let’s me just start by saying that I know. I know this is the gazillionth chicken pie recipe on this website. I know I have a problem but you know what? I don’t even care because you know what? The world needs as much chicken pie as it can handle and I don’t think we’re even close to that point yet. Besides, who doesn’t love a good chicken pie? Crisp, buttery pastry filled with a creamy, chickeny, mushroomy filling? Hells yes please.
I made little mini versions of this as the starter/canapé for my Christmas meal because I wanted to start the meal off with something a little indulgent but also wanted to keep it small enough so my guests could eat them while standing up with a drink in their hand. I’ve found that, even though I really love the formal dinner party set-up, a plated starter can often feel very stiff and I like to keep things quite casual. This way I can pass platters of these around while the guests are all mingling. (If you have vegetarian guests for Christmas this year, check back next week when I’ll be sharing a fabulous recipe for butternut & brie hand pies.)
I made these little pies in a muffin tray because it’s the easiest way to get loads done in one shot but you could make them in a similar way to the French onion puffs I made a while ago. I prefer the muffin tray method because you get a lot of filling per pie, making them substantial enough for a starter but if you’d prefer to have them more suited to a canapé size, I’d suggest going for the French onion puff method. For the filling I decided to use a shop-bought rotisserie chicken because a) It’s already cooked, b) Rotisserie chickens have incredibly flavour and c) they are often cheaper than buying a raw chicken and cooking it from scratch. I shredded the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones and then mixed it with sautéed exotic mushrooms, garlic, lemon, thyme and a good dollop of Dijon mustard. A bit of Crème fraîche mixed in to keep everything moist (but not wet) and you have an absolutely mouth-watering filling. Seriously though, I ate this by the spoonful while making these pies because it’s that delicious. (Side note: this filling would be AWESOME in a grilled cheese or quesidilla.)
Cook’s note: If you’d like to make these ahead, simply assemble them fully then cover the unbaked pies in clingwrap and foil in the muffin tray and freeze. Bake them from frozen and just extend the baking time by 10-15 minutes to allow the filling to completely thaw and warm through.
- 250 g exotic mixed mushrooms chopped into relatively small dice
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 rotisserie chicken shredded (skin and bones discarded)
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons Crème fraîche
- 2 x rolls pre-made puff pastry thawed
- 1 egg beaten
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
In a large pan, sauté the mushrooms in a splash of olive oil until golden brown then add the garlic.
Sauté for another minute then add the thyme and lemon juice.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Mix the mushrooms with the shredded chicken, mustard and Crème fraîche then season to taste.
Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and cut into discs big enough to fit into the holes of a muffin tray. Remember to cut discs the size of the muffin holes for the tops.
Place the bigger discs in the muffin trays, shaping them to fit in snugly then fill with the chicken filling. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg then top with the pastry lids and crimp the sides.
Brush with the remaining beaten egg and cut a slit in the top of each pie to allow steam to escape.
Place the pies in the oven and allow to bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.