Reversing a trailer can be a difficult skill to acquire without the right person showing you how it’s done – and it seems perfect pastry requires the same amount of teaching.
My wife needed to be shown how to reverse a trailer by Dave, and his wife Debbie was sure her pastry skills would be enhanced by a certain chef she knows.
So this week Debbie came to my kitchen to learn how to make pastry, both sweet and savoury, while Dave helped my wife reverse around an empty car park with a trailer attached to the car.
Sweet pastry for a fruit tart and shortcrust pastry for a fantastic chicken and mushroom pie were the skills I would show our friend so she would leave confident to make pastry on her own.
Is a pie more about the pastry or the filling?
In my world they should both complement each other.
The pastry should be short and buttery and the filling rich, creamy and fulfilling.
It will take you some time to make this pie but I guarantee it is worth the effort.
Debbie took hers home to eat with a pile of hand cut chips. I served mine with some local Bobby beans.
Chicken and mushroom pie
6 chicken thighs
1 onion chopped
1 leek chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 bay leaf
Small bunch thyme
Teaspoon white peppercorns
200ml white wine
50g mushrooms quartered
200ml double cream
200g plain flour
110g unsalted butter cut into small cubes
1. Put a casserole pan on a low heat. Add knob of butter.
2. Add chopped vegetables and cook for two minutes.
3. Now add bay, thyme and peppercorns.
4. Pour on the wine and water and bring to a simmer.
5. Add chicken thighs and bring back to simmer
6. Cover and place in pre-heated oven gas 3/150C for 90 minutes.
7. Allow to cool. Strain off cooking liquid.
8. Pick meat from the bones and chill.
9. Fry chopped onion in a little butter. Add mushrooms
10. Cook for two minutes. Add cooking liquor.
11. Reduce by half. Add double cream. Cook for four minutes until sauce is thick.
12. Cool and add chicken. Season.
13. Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour to resemble breadcrumbs.
14. Add egg, water and salt. Mix to form a dough and rest it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
15. Roll out pastry. Cut into rounds that correspond to your pie dishes.
16. Roll out toppers – press the bases into the dishes and fill with chicken mix.
17. Egg-wash pastry and put toppers on. Egg-wash the top.
18. Crimp edges and chill for 20 minutes.
19. Cook pies for 25 minutes until golden and serve with chips or green beans.
Lawrence Murphy’s restaurant is Fat Olives at Emsworth (fatolives.co.uk) on 01243 377914