Saturday, 21 April 2007

The Continuing Saga of Pie

A busy few days for us - when is it not? We spent the day shopping in Carmarthen yesterday. After an enormous pub lunch (at the New Stag in the town centre), all we could face at supper was a plate of sarnies. Karl didn't even manage that, having gorged himself on a rather large mixed grill. He had a pork pie and a packet of crisps, which is very like him. He's working the night shift tonight, so today we ate our main meal together at lunchtime. To fill his stomach for a long night, and to lift his spirits in anticipation of same, there was only one choice; pie.

A pie that I could get ready in time for lunch had to be a fairly simple affair. I cooked some chicken thighs yesterday, in advance of this morning's quick assembly job. It sounds more fiddly than it is, trust me.

Chicken & Sweetcorn Ladder

25g unsalted butter, diced
25g plain flour
300ml milk
pinch mixed dried herbs
250g cooked chicken, diced
150g sweetcorn (defrosted if frozen)
500g pack puff pastry
1 egg, beaten with a splash of water

Make the binding sauce. Put the butter, flour, dried herbs and milk into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, whisking all the time. Turn the heat down when it reaches boiling point and cook for a few minutes longer. Set aside to cool.

Roll out the pastry to a large square (about as thick as a £1 coin) and cut in half. Place one piece of pastry on a baking sheet. Mix the chicken and sweetcorn into the sauce and spoon along the centre of the pastry. Cut slits in the second piece of pastry, about 2.5cm apart, leaving a 4cm border all around the edge. Brush beaten egg on the pastry edges, around the filling, and then top with the second piece, pressing the edges together well. Brush the top of the pie with more egg (sometimes I sprinkle over more mixed dried herbs at this point, to ape my loved and lost 'Devon Savouries' Chicken & Sweetcorn pastries) and bake at 180°c for about 25 minutes, until puffed up, crisp and golden brown.

We ate this with some salad and it was just perfect for a main meal on a warm day like today. Some steamed new potatoes would be lovely if you want to gild the lily, or if you have to stretch the meal a little further. This served Hubby, Christopher and me very well, with enough for seconds. I'd also held a little of the filling back for James to eat for lunch, whizzed to a purée, with some toast on the side.

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