1.2 kg whole chicken
2 carrots, finely diced
2 bay leaves
2 - 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
2 - 3 sprigs thyme
3L (12 cups) water
3 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 leek, halved lengthways, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250 g button or Swiss brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 sheets 25% reduced-fat puff pastry, thawed
50 g egg, lightly whisked
12 cups garden salad, to serve
2 tbsp plain flour
250 ml (1 cup) skim milk
320 ml (1⅓ cups) reserved chicken stock from poaching liquid
55 g (½ cup) reduced-fat mozzarella
1 pinch smoked paprika
Freshly ground black pepper, to season
- Pull skin off chicken (except from the wings) and discard. Cut off any fat from chicken and discard. Put chicken, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, thyme, water and 2 celery sticks in a large saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over a high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, leaving chicken in pan, covered, for 10 minutes to finish the cooking process.
- Remove chicken from pan and transfer to a dish to cool for 10 minutes. Strain stock through a sieve into a large bowl, discarding vegetables. Set stock aside. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, pull flesh off carcass, leaving it in large pieces. Don’t worry about getting any meat off the wings; these are discarded. Discard chicken carcass.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add leek, garlic and remaining celery. Stir well. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until leek is very soft. Add mushroom and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes or until mushroom softens. Remove from pan and transfer to a large bowl.
- To make white sauce, put flour in the same saucepan and gradually whisk in milk and stock. Put pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and comes to a simmer. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add sauce to leek mixture. Chop chicken into chunks and add to filling mixture. Add mozzarella and paprika. Season with pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until cold.
- Preheat oven to 200°C (fan-forced). Lay pastry on a flat surface. Put three 250ml (1 cup) ovenproof dishes, upside down, on each pastry sheet. Cut around dishes. Divide chicken filling between dishes. Cut strips of pastry from leftover sheets and press around the edges of dishes. Brush with a little egg. Put round pastry pieces on top, pinching edges to seal and for decoratation. Brush pastry evenly with a little more egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Put pies on serving plates and serve with salad.