Chicken pies can be made of all white meat or a mixture of white and dark meat. You can use raw chicken, but by the time it is cooked, you might have over cooker pastry. It is easier to use cooked chicken; it can be baked, barbecued or pouched, but poached chicken will give you the juiciest results.
Use a large chicken and do not overcook it. Cool, remove the skin and bones, and cut into large dice. You can add any vegetables you like - green peas, sliced carrots and celery, slivered cabbage, sliced leeks, little white onions. Use a combination of vegetables, season them lightly, and saeut them in butter with a few pinches of a good curry powder until they are not quite done but still a little crunchy; to make sure the vegetables are evenly cooked, saute the ones that need the longest cooking first. Mix with diced chicken.
Turn into a pastry lined deep baking dish. Cover the filling with button mushrooms, and top with pastry. The vegetables usually provide enough moisture, but a thickened veloute made with well flavored chicken stock can be added. Make vents in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. If the edges brown too fast, cove them with foil.
You can make pies with other poultry and meats following the same basic recipe. Turkey requires longer cooking than chicken, so be sure to poach or roast the met first. Use white meat for best results. Lamb pies are good; use the leg because it is the leanest. Dice the meat, or cut it into chunks. Veal and pork can also be used for pies.
If the filling ingredients for your pies are completely or nearly cooked, bake them at 400 degrees until everything is hot and the crust fully cooked. If the filling is still raw, start the pie at high heat to crisp the crust bottom. Then finish at lower heat for enough time to cook the filling; the amount of time will vary according to the meat you use. Test through the steam vent with a skewer or fork if in doubt.
Another possibility is to bake the filling with a biscuit topping instead of a pastry crust. Other dishes called pies, although not made of pastry, can be made with potato crust or grains. Liver, diced and mixed with onions and mushrooms, makes a good dish baked in a mashed potato crust or in a shell of rice.
No matter what meat choice or vegetables added, a pie dish is super easy to make and you can even use your leftovers for part of the filling. And don't forget to add a special dessert to finish you meal with such as Pots De Creme Pudding.