Chicken and mushrooms are a popular combination in stir fries, as a pizza topping and even in instant noodle dishes which only require re-hydration before they can be eaten. It is also however a very popular combination in a pie, particularly in the UK. The chicken and mushroom will frequently be incorporated in a simple white sauce before being encased in the pastry for baking but in this instance, the emphasis is on spicing up the pie filling rather than including it in any sauce. The spiciness can be varied by reducing or adding to the chili content while the suggested serving accompaniments for the finished pie are of course entirely variable.
Spicy chicken and mushroom pie is served with spiced roast potatoes and kidney beans
Ingredients (Serves 2 to 4)
- 6 baby new potatoes per person
- 1 pound chicken breast meat, skinless and boneless
- ½ yellow bell pepper
- ½ small to medium red onion
- 3 medium chestnut mushrooms
- 1 small red chili
- 1 small green chili
- Black pepper
- 2 teaspoons freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf)
- ¾ pint fresh chicken stock (approximately)
- ½ pound puff pastry
- Flour for rolling pastry
- 1 small beaten egg for glazing pastry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons canned red kidney beans per person
Scrub the potatoes clean and add them to a large pot of cold water. Season with some salt and bring the water to a simmer for twenty minutes or until the potatoes are just cooked and no more. Drain the potatoes through a colander and allow them to steam off and partly cool before returning them to the pot, putting the lid on and setting them aside to cool completely.
Put your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.
Seed the bell pepper half and moderately finely slice. Slice the peeled onion half across the way and separate each slice in to strands. Wash or brush the mushrooms and quarter down through the center. Note that the stalks should be left intact. The chilies should be topped before being thinly sliced in to discs.
Chop the chicken breast meat in to approximately three-quarter to one inch chunks before adding to a large bowl. Add the prepared vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Scatter in the cilantro and stir very well with a wooden spoon to ensure the different ingredients and seasonings are well combined.
Spoon the pie filling in to a ten by seven inch pie dish and spread it out evenly. Pour in enough chicken stock to come half way up the depth of the solids only. If you add too much, it will make the pastry soggy; too little and the chicken will dry out.
Roll out the pastry on a clean, dry, floured surface in to a rectangle just slightly larger than the pie dish. Lift it carefully on to the top of the dish and crimp around the edges with your thumb and forefinger. Trim off the excess pastry with a very sharp knife. Use a pastry brush to glaze the pastry with beaten egg before cutting two or three steam vents in the center. Lift the dish on to a baking sheet or tray to contain any potential leakages during cooking and bake in the oven for thirty-five to forty minutes until the pastry is golden.
When the pie is just about ready to come out of the oven, pour the vegetable oil in to a large glass or stone bowl. Season with the chili powder and some salt. Stir well to combine the seasonings. Cut the cooled potatoes in half before carefully stirring them through the oil.
Take the cooked pie form the oven and sit it carefully aside on a heatproof surface to rest while you cook the roast potatoes. Spoon the oiled potatoes on to a roasting tray and place them in to the oven for twenty minutes, giving the tray a careful shake half way through cooking. When the potatoes are done, lift them with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain off for a couple of minutes.
Cut the crust of the pie in to four quarters with a sharp knife. In order to plate up, begin by lifting one of the crust corners up and over on to another part of the pie to expose the filling.
A slotted spoon should be used to lift the exposed pie filling portion on to the first serving plate.
Sit the freed piece of crust on top of the filling and repeat this process with the other three portions on to separate serving plates. Arrange the roast potatoes on the serving plates and spoon on the red kidney beans.
Note that you may wish to serve the kidney beans warm. Should this be the case, drain them well through a colander at your sink and add them to a pot of fresh cold water just before the potatoes come out of the oven. Bring the pot of water to a simmer before draining and spooning the warmed beans on to the plates. In order to add a further twist to the beans, you could add a spice such as cumin to the poaching water or stir through a chopped herb such as cilantro after they have been heated and drained.