As the weather starts to slowly head into autumn (with cooler nights at least), and the routine of life after summer holidays kicks in, I think it’s the perfect time for comfort recipes that make you feel good when you look at them, and even better when you taste them.
Pure comfort food should feel like a warm hug from a loved one. It’s food that looks good as you prep it, gets extra love from you as you cook it (because you know how good it will be or have lovely memories making it), and when you’re finished preparing it, you can’t wait to get stuck into it.
These pot pies do all of that and more for my family and me. The girls LOVE when I make them. The initials that get placed on the top (that literally take 15 seconds to do), give you instant Mrs Beeton status because it looks like you REALLY care. Every time I serve them up to bigs and smalls, these pot pies are a hit.
Of course if you really are a legend that likes to make your own pastry, then you should totally do that, but for me it’s frozen puff pastry all the way (while still being smug when they come out of the oven and the kids go “phhhhhwwwwooooaaaarrrr MUM!”). You can also use leftover roast chicken or charcoal chicken if you can’t be bothered poaching your own. No one can tell the difference!
Chicken pot pies
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 35 mins
- 100g pancetta or bacon, chopped
- 1 splash olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 leek, thinly sliced in rounds
- 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves picked
- Salt and pepper, to season
- 500g cooked chicken (see tips, below), shredded
- 1 large splash chicken stock
- 1 splash cream
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
- Add pancetta and a splash of olive oil to a hot saucepan and cook, stirring until brown. Add in garlic, leek and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until leeks are softened. Stir in the chicken.
- Add 1 large splash of chicken stock to deglaze the pan (see notes, below), then add in 1 splash of cream.
- Take a sheet of puff pastry, and using a 1-cup ramekin as a guide, cut 4 circles from the pastry just large enough to cover the top of the ramekin. I also like to cut out pastry initials for everyone the because my mum used to (and still does) it for me.
- Divide chicken mixture among four 1-cup ramekins, then cover with the puff pastry circles without worrying too much about the edges. I fold it in, squish it around, it’s never fancy and it NEVER matters!
- Brush the tops of pies with beaten egg and place them onto a baking tray before placing them into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Serve up on a plate with some simple greens on the side. We usually have a rocket & baby spinach salad that you can place on top and push into the pie. Enjoy!
Deglazing your pan will pick up any dark colour and caramelised flavours left over from cooking the pancetta that's stuck to the pan. To do this, simply use your wooden spoon to stir around the stock and scrap up the goodness from the bottom of the pan.
You can use leftover roast chicken or BBQ chicken in this recipe, but if you would like to poach your own, place 1L water or chicken stock in a large saucepan with 1 bruised garlic clove and 2 sprigs fresh thyme and bring to the boil. Add 500g chicken breast, ensuring it is completely covered by the liquid. Cover with a lid, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stand chicken, still covered, for 10 minutes. Remove chicken from liquid.
Beth of Baby Mac has been blogging since 2006 and made the move from the city to the country in 2010. On Baby Mac she writes about her family, life in the country, entertaining and recipes, interiors – with a good dose of humour on the side.