Monday, September 7, 2009

Chicken, leek and morel pie

Serves 6

The kids are back at school, the Summer glow is gently fading and the lid of the Pimms bottle looks like it's starting to crust up for the colder months already. Can only mean one thing, and Autumn is just around the corner - pie season in my book. I'm so looking forward to the sheer comfort in longer cooked meats, braised dishes while still making the most of the gardens and hedgerows as they still offer an abundance of flavour. This pie uses morels, a little early in the season yet, and a bit of a luxury even at their peak of availability, so don't worry about substituting them for something simpler in price.

Pastry
225g strong white flour
170g cold diced butter
Pinch of salt
Cold water to mix

Filling
6 chicken breasts, diced
20g dried morels, soaked and halved (reserve the soaking water)
10 young leeks, washed and sliced
100g tarragon, chopped
300ml double cream
15g flour
15g butter
Salt and black pepper

For the pastry, mix the butter into the flour with the salt till crumbly, add enough water till a clean smooth dough is formed without over mixing, chill in fridge for at least an hour before rolling.

Poach the chicken, leeks and morels gently in the morel water for about 20 to 30 minutes, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.

Strain the liquid and add the butter to this mix and return to the heat. Once the butter is foaming, and coated all ingredients, dust with the flour and continue to cook for 5 minutes further.

At this stage add 100ml of poaching liquid, the cream, tarragon and a touch more seasoning, bring back to the boil and remove from heat.

Fill a suitable pie dish with the filling, and top with the pastry, rolled out to ¼ inch thickness. Brush the top with egg wash, and bake in an oven at 180c for about 30 to 40 minutes.