Mini Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pies
It’s getting to that time of year when I’m thinking about Summer outdoor parties, and in particular, picnics! I’ve loved picnicking ever since I was a child. There was always something that felt special about eating outdoors with friends and family. Maybe it’s partly due to the fact that here in the UK we don’t get the opportunity to sit outdoors in the warmth of the sunshine!
With picnics on my mind, I was looking around for inspiration for pies. I love pies, who doesn’t?! The butchers near me know us from coming in and ordering their chicken pies (damn they are so good and usually straight out from the oven). I’m not the best pastry maker in town and I love to keep things simple and tasty, so it made sense to make my own version with shop bought pasty. Chicken is one of those meats that tastes just as good cold as warm, and therefore is perfect for pies that are eaten cold al fresco.
I used thyme instead of tarragon that you would often find. I also added in chestnut mushrooms but if you aren’t keen on mushrooms, any vegetable of your choice could take its place. I used a bigger pastry cutter and got 6 pies, but you can easily make 12 from a 3 1/2 cutter. If you have any leftover filling – don’t throw it away! Keep it for more meals, I used mine for pasta. I boiled the pasta, drained the water, mixed in some olive oil and seasoning, then added the re-heated leftover filling.
- 1 free-range chicken (small)
- A bunch of fresh thyme
- 1 carrot, chopped
- A large pinch of salt and pepper
- 750g (2 packets) ready to roll puff pastry
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 150g chestnut mushrooms, thinly chopped
- 1tbsp plain flour
- 100ml double cream
- Fill a large saucepan with water and add in the carrot, thyme and seasoning. Place the chicken in the centre making sure it is completely covered by the water. When it begins to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 50 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through.
- In the meantime, take one pack of ready to roll puff pastry and stamp out 6 rounds using a 4 1/2 inch round cutter. Place these on a lined baking tray and put in the fridge.
- Use the second pack of ready to roll pastry and stamp out what will be the lids for the pies using a 4 inch round cutter and also put them in the fridge to chill.
- In a frying pan, add the butter, chopped leeks, chopped mushrooms and onion, Cook until softened about 8-10 minutes. Mix in the flour and then turn the heat off and leave it to cool.
- Once the chicken has cooked, shred around 250-300g. Mix in the cooled leek and mushroom mixture along with the double cream.
- Remove the pastry rounds from the fridge. Place the 4 1/2 inch rounds into a muffin tray and spoon the chicken mixture into each one. Brush the edges with the beaten egg and then place the 4 inch pastry lids on top, pressing down to seal the edges.
- Pierce a hole on each of the pies and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Once baked, removed from oven and let them cool before removing them from the muffin tray. You can eat them straight away or place them in the fridge to keep for your picnic!