Mini Chicken and Leek Pies
- 1.2kg free-range chicken
- 2 leeks, white part only, rinsed and halved
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 brown onions, peeled
- 200g button mushrooms
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 thyme sprigs
- White pepper
- 60g butter
- 80g (2/3 cup) plain flour
- 1kg shortcrust pastry
- 1 free-range egg
- 1 free-range egg, well beaten, for egg wash
- To make the chicken and leek filling, rinse the chicken under cold water and put it in a large, deep saucepan. Add the leek, carrot, onions and mushrooms. Season with salt and white pepper, add the bay leaves and thyme, and pour in just enough water to cover. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, then turn the heat off and allow the chicken to cool in the stock for 1 hour. Strain all the ingredients, reserve the stock. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken and dice the meat. Dice the vegetables and place in a large bowl with the chicken.
- Return the stock to a clean saucepan and boil until the liquid has reduced to about 500ml (2 cups). Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour, stirring to make a roux. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Add the sauce to the chicken and leek mixture and gently fold through. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C.
- Lightly grease 24 small aluminium pie plates and line with shortcrust pastry cut into circles about 8am in diameter or big enough to fit the pie mould. Fill with the chicken mix. Brush the edge of the pastry with egg wash and top with a shortcrust pastry round cut to about 6cm in diameter, or big enough to cover. Pinch the edges to seal. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, then egg wash the tops.
- Cook in the oven for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 degrees C and cook for a further 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.
VARIATIONS: You can make more adult-style pies by using rabbit instead of chicken, or boiled diced veal. You can even use minced beef cooked with a touch of water and some very finely diced potato to thicken the mix.
Recipe from 'French Kitchen' cook book by Serge Dansereau, published by ABC Books and photography by William Meppem.