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Well; Autumn’s here, it seems. From a weather perspective, this means much more rain and wind (although it is a visual feast, Autumn), but food and beer wise it’s a good time. The food gets heartier, puddings start creeping back into your life, and beers get maltier, darker and smokier.
Pie, it is often said, can’t really be improved upon. However, I found a simple trick to improving my own favourite – Chicken – by simply roasting the meat before making the pie. There’s added depth that roasting the bird gives, and I personally think there’s a big difference in this and a regular chicken pie where the meat is just sealed. Yes, it adds time onto the recipe, but it’s no problem *- really. *This recipe makes one pie, enough for four slices.
You can buy your pastry if you like – I’m a big advocate of ready-made these days – or make your own by sifting 200g of Plain Flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add 100g of fat – either all butter for a richer taste, or 50/50 butter and Lard. I must insist on Shortcrust pastry for this pie! Add a little water and mix until it becomes a dough, then fold a few times and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
So, to get started, you’ll need to roast your Chicken as you normally do. Once that’s done, leave it to cool whilst you crack on with everything else. In a stock pot, saute one small clove of Garlic, 1 whole Leek, and a Sliced Carrot until soft in a dollop of butter and a glug of Olive Oil. Whilst the veg is softening, take your chicken apart and shred all the meat off it. The best meat (in my opinion) is the leg meat – darker, sweeter and perfect for pies. Add some chopped Button Mushrooms, and then dump your chicken – as much as you like – into the pan and warm through.
Now, pre-heat your oven to 200c.
The sauce is simple. *Add flour to the meat and vegetables, coating them and stirring as you go along. Once you’ve got a thick, sticky coating, add milk gradually and stir until you’ve got a white sauce. You can also add a little cream at this point too. Season your filling with White Pepper, Thyme, and Sage. Leave to simmer. The chicken is cooked, so it;s just a question of bringing everything together.

In the meantime, take your pastry out of the fridge and roll out. Empty your filling into your pie dish (or dishes if more than one) and roll your pastry onto the top. Cut steam-holes in , and glaze with beaten Egg. The pie will cook in the oven for about 30 minutes. After 15, you can re-glaze the top for a deep amber crust.
There you go, smooth tasty Roast Chicken Pie – classic comfort food for colder nights. Enjoy with whatever side you want, and a beer – of course. I can recommend Fuller’s classic Chiswick Bitter – a*satisfying malt backbone, refreshing taste and a drying, floral hop-hit on the end. A simple, tasty beer for a simple, tasty pie.