Saturday, 3 October 2015

Classic Chicken and Mushroom Pie with Cheddar Cheese Short Crust Pastry

Conducting cooking and baking classes also means that I need to do my homework really really well. I like to give my class participants the best of all I know and so I do a lot of reading and experiments before I announce my next class. A pie and tart class has been long due and repeatedly requested and so here is my homework for the next schedule which is in November. There are three more recipes that I will need to try. Stay tuned!! Do read my notes at the end for vegetarian options.
For the filling 
1 chicken breast, about 150 gms, cut into medium pieces
200 gms white button mushrooms quartered 
1 large onion chopped 
2 cloves garlic chopped 
1 tbsp chopped parsley 
1 tbsp chopped rosemary 
1 tbsp olive oil plus more if required 
2 tbsp butter 
2 tbsp flour
200 ml milk
200 ml chicken/vegetable stock 
Salt and pepper to taste
For the pie crust (for a 22 cm pie plate)
1 cup all purpose flour/maida
2 tbsp butter, chilled 
2 tbsp vegetable shortening , chilled 
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp grated cheddar cheese 
1 egg (I used a little less than 1 large egg)

Start with making the pie crust first. Take the flour, salt, butter and shortening and start rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. There should still be some traces of butter and shortening visible in the mixture. Do not overmix. 
Now add the grated cheese and the egg, little at a tine, till the dough just comes together. We don't need a smooth or fine dough. Just the one which holds everything together. I used little less than 1 large egg. 
Cover the dough with cling wrap and refrigerate till further use. 
Now start preparing the filling. Heat oil in a pan and add the chicken pieces. Fry till they turn white. Now add the mushrooms and fry on high heat till the moisture evaporates and the chicken and the mushrooms turn slightly golden. Remove from the pan and keep aside. 
Now, in the same pan, add a little more oil if required and fry the chopped onions and   garlic till translucent. Remove from pan and keep with the chicken. 
Now, to make the sauce, you can either use the same pan or use a new one. Heat the butter and add the flour. Stir till you get a lovely aroma and the flour looks pasty. Now mix the milk and the stock and add it to the pan along with salt and pepper. Stir on a medium flame till the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon. 
Now add the chopped parsley and rosemary and mix and remove from heat. Put the chicken mixture into a pie plate and pour the sauce over it. Spread to evenly cover the chicken beneath. Keep aside and let it cool. 
Preheat the oven at 200 degree celcius for 10 minutes. Now, take a parchment paper and spread it out on the kitchen counter. Take the dough out of the fridge and remove the cling wrap. Put another sheet of parchment paper or cling wrap and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough gently from all sides to a uniform thickness of about 3 mm and just enough to cover the top of the pie plate. 
Brush the sides of the pan with egg wash. Gently lift the rolled out dough and place it on the pie dish covering the edges and sitting on top of the filling. Seal the edges with your fingertips and filling in any edges with scrap dough. Make some cuts in the center to let the steam escape. 

Brush the top with egg wash and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes till the edges and top and browned and crisp. Remove from oven and let it cool for sometime before serving. 
1. You can use any assorted veggies instead of the chicken like broccoli, sweet corn, carrots, beans, spinach, or cottage cheese as well. 
2. You can use 2-3 tbsp ice cold water instead of the egg while kneading the dough. 
3. You can skip the egg wash if you are a pure vegetarian. You can use milk wash instead but the shine won't be there. 

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