Happy British Pie Week (Picture: Pieminister)
Happy British Pie Week everyone – may we all get the opportunity to give thanks to the glorious baked foodstuff at least once this week.
If you want to make a celebratory pie from scratch, you could do a lot worse than Pieminister’s The Free Ranger pie.
This tasty savoury bake is creamy, indulgent and chock-full of tasty ingredients.
Taken from Pieminister’s cookbook ‘A Pie for All Seasons’, it’s the inspiration for the Free Ranger pie they currently sell to the masses.
How to make Pieminister’s ‘The Free Ranger’ pie
- 1 free-range British chicken, about 1.5kg
- 1 carrot, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 celery sticks, cut into quarters
- 2 onions, cut in half
- 1 whole bulb of garlic, top sliced off
- 6 sprigs of tarragon
- 1 large knob of butter
- 3 chunky leeks, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced
- 200ml dry or medium cider, preferably Orchard Pig
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 150ml single or whipping cream
- Grated zest of ½ lemon
- 3 tbsp chopped chives
- 1 quantity of shortcrust pastry for the base (you can find a recipe on page 10 of Pieminister’s cookbook ‘A Pie for All Seasons’) or cheat with 660g of ready-made shortcrust pastry
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
- 1 quantity of rough puff pastry for the top (you can find a recipe on page 10 of Pieminister’s cookbook ‘A Pie for All Seasons’) or cheat with 375g ready-made puff pastry
- Sea salt and black pepper
Yum (Picture: Pieminister)
Put the chicken in a large pot with the carrot, celery, ½ an onion, the garlic bulb, two of the tarragon sprigs and a little salt. Add enough water to almost cover the chicken.
Cover the pan, bring to a simmer and cook very gently for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Leave until cool enough to handle, then remove the chicken from the pot. Strain the chicken stock into a clean pan (discard all the vegetables except the garlic) and boil until reduced by half – the flavour should become concentrated.
Meanwhile, take the skin off the chicken and discard. Tear the meat into shreds.
Cut the rest of the onions into medium dice. Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the leeks and cook until softened.
Pour in the cider and simmer until reduced by about half. Stir in the flour, cook for a few seconds, then add 400ml of the hot chicken stock, plus the cream and the lemon zest.
Bring to a simmer – the mixture should have a nice, creamy pouring consistency. Add a little more of the hot stock if necessary. Chop the remaining tarragon and add to the sauce, then remove from the heat. Squeeze in the flesh from the garlic bulb and stir in the chives and chicken. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thick and use to line a large ovenproof dish, such as a baking tin or lasagne dish.
Fill with the chicken mixture and then brush the pastry edges with a little beaten egg. Roll out the rough puff pastry to about 3mm thick and use to cover the pie, trimming off the excess and pressing the edges together to seal.
Brush with egg glaze and make a couple of small holes in the centre of the pie to let out steam. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. This pie is great served with new potatoes and spring greens.
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