For this dish, we have overhauled an on-line recipe for chicken pot pies with puff pastry lids, ditched the pastry and added a layer of mashed potato as in the well-known Shepherd’s Pie. The result is very tasty and reheats well. You could also drop the mashed potato and serve it as a casserole with a medley of steamed or boiled vegetables.
200g small Swiss Brown mushrooms, thinly sliced (2-3mm)
3 long rashers bacon, trimmed and coarsely chopped
600g chicken thigh fillets, chopped
1-2 leeks, white part only, halved lengthways and thinly sliced (vary quantity of leek depending on size and your own taste)
30ml plain flour
250-300ml chicken stock
60ml cooking cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves OR 1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
freshly ground black pepper
400g mashing potatoes, eg Dutch Cream
extra butter, milk and sour cream
- Melt 30g of the butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the mushroom slices and sauté for 6-8 minutes until they have just begun to caramelise. (To start, I put a lid loosely on the pan for a couple of minutes to help soften the mushrooms using their own steam; otherwise, it seems that you need to add more butter to the pan.) Remove mushroom slices and set aside in a large bowl or deep plate.
- Add bacon to the pan and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until cooked through but not browned. Add to the mushrooms. Add 10g of butter to the pan and cook the chopped chicken in 2 or 3 batches – to prevent stewing the meat – until lightly browned all over. Add to the mushrooms and bacon.
- Melt remaining butter, add leek and sauté for 5 minutes until leek softens; add resting juices from other ingredients if pan is a little dry. As the leek cooks, it will loosen and incorporate the caramelised bits from the base of the pan.
- Return bacon, mushroom and chicken to the pan over medium heat, add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add 250ml of the stock, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add cream, mustard, thyme and a generous grind of pepper then cook for a further two minutes, adding extra stock if the sauce is too thick. Remove from the heat and tip into a ceramic or glass baking dish no smaller than 20cm x 20cm (or an equivalent rectangular dish).
- Preheat oven to 150C.
- Prepare potato mash by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into chunks. Add potato chunks to a saucepan, cover with plenty of salted cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes or just tender. Drain well and mash with a little butter, sour cream and milk, sufficient to produce a smooth but firm consistency.
- Spread mash over chicken mixture, gently furrow the surface with a fork and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until the chicken mix is heated through and bubbling around the edges.
- We served the pie with some fresh peas and some Dutch carrots.