Pies are such a versatile creation. They can include sweet fillings or savory ones, incorporating anything from apples, to fish, to beef. A little bit of imagination is all that is required to come up with a whole host of tasty ideas. Similarly, small porcelain ramekins are a valuable and inexpensive addition to any home kitchen, proving useful for everything from serving dips to making - as in this instance - attractive little mini pot pies.
The image above shows a great way of serving these little pies perhaps to friends gathered to watch a big game or anything else on TV. It would also make an attractive party or buffet offering. The hot pies are merely arranged on a platter and garnished with a little freshly chopped cilantro.
Ingredients (Makes 8 Pies)
- 1 small, whole chicken
- 1 pound pack of mixed chopped vegetables
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound jar rogan josh cooking sauce
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf)
- 1 pound puff pastry
- Flour for rolling pastry
- 1 beaten egg for glazing
- Butter for greasing ramekins
Remove any and all packaging/trussing from the chicken. Cut off and discard the bony leg ends if this has not already been done by the supplier. Sit the chicken breasts side up in a large soup or stock pot. The vegetable pack used in this recipe consisted of various vegetables such as carrot, leek and onion and was intended as a casserole inclusion. It simply saved preparation time and also proved a less expensive option. If you prefer, you could buy and prepare your own chosen selection of vegetables which should be added to the pot with the chicken and seasonings.
Pour in enough cold water to ensure the chicken is comfortably covered and put the pot on to a high heat until the water starts to simmer. Put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat and continue to simmer for forty-five minutes.
When the forty-five minutes have elapsed, turn the heat off under the pot. Turn the chicken carefully in the liquid with a couple of spatulas or similar that it is resting on its breasts side. Leave it to complete cooking in the residual heat for forty-five more minutes.
A carving fork inserted in to the body cavity and a large supporting spatula underneath is a good way of lifting the chicken from the stock to a large plate. Do be careful as the stock will still be very hot. Be sure to lay the chicken on the plate breasts side down to keep the breast fillets as moist and tender as possible as the bird cools. Cover and leave to cool completely.
When the chicken is completely cool, peel off the skin and pull the bird apart in to portions before picking off all the flesh in fairly small pieces. If you wish, the meat could be placed in a plastic dish and refrigerated overnight to allow you to make the pies proper the following evening.
Put the chicken in to a large bowl and mix well to ensure the different flesh textures are evenly distributed. Pour in around half the cooking sauce and stir well.
Add more sauce as required just to ensure all the chicken is well coated. You may not need all of it
Add the chopped cilantro to the bowl and stir again.
This ramekin set and platter made for an excellent serving option for the pot pies but individual ramekins could of course be used when that is all that is available.
Measure your ramekins in order to determine the required size of your pastry cutting template. The diameter of the base plus twice the depth will give the necessary measurement for the casing template, while the diameter across the top will give the necessary information in relation to the lids.
A search around your kitchen will in most instances let you find suitable items to use as templates. In this instance, a small bowl and drinking glass were perfect for the job. Note that the template for the cases should be a bit larger than required (around half an inch) to create a small overhang around the edges of the ramekins when they are fitted.
Start by putting your oven on to preheat to 450F/220C/Gas Mark 8 and by lightly greasing the ramekins all over the insides with some butter. If you fail to do this, the pies will be liable to stick and may break up as you attempt to remove them after cooking.
Take half the puff pastry and roll it out on a clean, dry floured surface large enough that you can use your larger template to cut out four casings.
Carefully and taking your time, fit the cases in to four of the greased ramekins. Re-roll the off-cuts of pastry and cut from it four lids with the smaller template.
Use a teaspoon to spoon some of the curried chicken filling in to each ramekin, pressing it down gently but not too much. Fill almost but not quite to the rim.
Place a lid on each developing pie and glaze with beaten egg.
Crimp the edges of the pie pastry over the lids and glaze with more beaten egg.
Repeat this process from the stage of rolling out the second piece of pastry to create four further pie assemblies.
Lift the ramekins on to a baking sheet and be sure to cut a steam vent in the center of each pie with the point of a sharp knife. Bake in the oven for thirty to thirty-five minutes until browned.
When the pies come out of the oven, let them sit in the ramekins, on the tray, for fifteen minutes. After this time, lift each ramekin with an oven glove (they will still be hot) and gently free the sides of the pies from the porcelain with a blunt, wide-bladed knife. They should then fairly easily tip free and should be sat to rest for ten more minutes on a wire rack before they are eaten.
This simple idea sees two of the pies served with some miniature Indian poppadoms from a foil pack purchased in the supermarket. It eliminates the need for any further preparation or cooking.
This simple idea sees two of the pies served with some miniature Indian poppadoms from a foil pack purchased in the supermarket. It eliminates the need for any further food preparation or cooking.
Pie and beans of one type or another is popular in many parts of the world but these beans were enhanced a little bit to be more in keeping with the Indian theme of the pies. A small can of baked beans in tomato sauce was opened in to a saucepan before a teaspoon of curry powder and two teaspoons of cilantro were added. The combination was gently heated and stirred frequently with a wooden spoon