Food & drink

James St Recipes: Chicken and leek pie, and game pie

Chicken and leek pie
Niall McKenna

THIS week's recipes are two classics. Over the past 10 years in the restaurant, we always have a rotation of great pies on the menu.

At this time of year one of my favourites is a game pie as it covers a multitude of flavours and tastes.

Game pie can be a complete mix of all the birds, pheasant, pigeon or you can include offcuts of rabbit or venison. This is an earthy dish and a great comfort food for these dark evenings.

A more family friendly pie is the classic chicken and leek pie. Although this can be bought from the shop, it always tastes much better when you make it yourself. For days like this I always have some pastry tucked away in the freezer to roll out and yes, shop bought is good enough.

::For more information, or to book an experience at the Waterman Cookery School, visit cookinbelfast.co.uk.

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Game Pie

1kg pheasant, pigeon, rabbit and venison, skin off and deboned

2 glasses red wine

2 carrots peeled, chopped

1 onion peeled, chopped

1 teaspoon tomato puree

1 garlic clove, chopped

4 juniper berries, crushed

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon picked thyme

2 tablespoon rapeseed oil

1 litre beef stock

3 tablespoons plain flour

25g butter

1 egg

300-350g puff pastry

Salt and pepper

Method

Marinate the game in a bowl with red wine, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and berries covered in clingfilm and place in the fridge for up to 2 days beforehand.

Once marinated, drain off and keep the marinade to the side. Heat oil in a pan. Dust the meat lightly with the flour, season and fry off removing from pan once coloured.

Heat the butter and fry the onion until soft. Add carrot and the remaining flour, tomato puree and stir for one minute. Stir in the marinade, add the stock and bring to the boil, add the meat and simmer for 2 hours until tender. The sauce should have a thick consistency and the meat should be braised.

Once cool, transfer to a pie dish, discarding the bay leaf.

Roll out puff pastry on a floured surface and cover pie dish, nipping the sides to form a seal. Brush lightly with a beaten egg and cut a small slit in the centre to let steam escape. Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 30 minutes or until the skin is golden.

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Chicken and Leek Pie

Ingredients

300-350g shortcrust pastry

30g butter

30g flour

500ml milk

3 tablespoons double cream

2 tablespoons mustard

100ml chicken stock

10 chicken thighs

2 leeks chopped

30g butter

70g streaky bacon, diced

1 bunch of fresh tarragon

Salt and pepper

Method

Make the white sauce first by melting the butter. Once melted add in the flour over a medium heat. Add in the milk a little at a time, stir vigorously to avoid lumps.

Next add the cream, chicken stock and mustard and let the sauce thicken on a low heat, continuing to stir.

Pre-heat the oven at 190C. Place chicken and leeks on the bottom of an oven proof dish and cover with sliced tarragon leaves. Pour over the white sauce and season with salt and pepper.

For the topping flour a clean surface and roll out your pastry. Trim the edges and seal with water or beaten egg. Crimp the edges and make a hole in the centre to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg to ensure your pie gets a golden glow.

Cook for 25 to 30 minutes.

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