Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Serves 6

Last Thursday I dragged myself into the kitchen after a long and especially taxing day and stared at the puff pastry I left out in the stay-cool section of the fridge. And then I stared at the chicken breasts that I purchased earlier that day.

Chicken and mushroom pie, I thought. Alas, I had no mushrooms. No matter, I was still going to make a chicken pie, a very quick and easy chicken pie, with the aid of a ready made sauce. That’s right! This was not the night for even the relatively easy roux and sauce concocting. It had to be achievable while I clung onto the counter steadying myself to stay awake, but it had to embody the elements of a perfect pie: a flavoursome, well seasoned filling and a crisp, well risen pastry topping it, in an individual serving. (No added cutting and serving up onto extra plates

This is how you do it:

1 ready rolled good quality butter puff pastry
4 chicken breasts, cubed
1 tsp crushed garlic, add to chicken cubes and mix
175ml carrots, chopped into tiny cubes.
375ml ready made sauce- white sauce variant (I used black pepper sauce from Woolworths)
5 rashers lean bacon, cut into thin strips
4 spring onions, snipped
1 tsp olive oil
salt, to taste
1 egg, beaten lightly

Keep the puff pastry in the fridge while you cook up the filling.
Spray n Cook 6 individual pie pots or 1 large pie dish.
Pre-heat oven to 210 degrees Celsius.
Heat olive oil in pan on medium heat. Add half the spring onions and fry for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and brown, turning up the heat. Add the carrots. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring around.
Add the bacon. There is no need to fry the bacon first, remove and add again, as this is going to cook in the oven still.
Add the sauce. Mix well and check for seasoning. Add salt according to taste. Add remaining spring onions and remove from the heat. Mushrooms, instead of carrots and bacon would be ideal and the classic combination. Perhaps you’d like to try tender stem broccoli, for a bit of a change.
Divide the mixture between the dish/es. Remove the puff pastry and work quickly to cut out squares to cover the tops of the dish/es. Allow a overhang of pastry which you can tuck around the sides to seal. There is no need for perfection and scolloped edges. Unless you must, in which case, go head!
Brush with the pastry eggwash. (What an awful name, don’t you think!?)
Leave pies in fridge for 15 minutes- the butter puff pastry gets sticky quickly and this will firm it up again.
Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 210 degrees Celsius (this is for the pastry to rise and to start to brown) and a further 10 to 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius (for the pastry to cook and continue to brown).

I had warmed the extra pot pies in the oven the next day at 160 degrees Celsius, for 12 minutes and the tops became even more deliciously golden brown and crisp.

Love to hear your thoughts!

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