About 15 months ago, I wrote a post about a dish to which Maggie and I had given the sobriquet ‘Poulterer’s Pie’, a pun on the well known lamb dish Shepherd’s Pie. We had modified the recipe for a chicken pie filling and then topped it off with a layer of mashed potato, before baking it in the oven to add a bit of colour and crunch to the potato.
A few months later, we returned from travels in six countries of Central Europe keen to reproduce some of the meals we had enjoyed along the way. One of these was beef goulash, which we made at home with a base of braised beef and a topping of dumplings. The result was very tasty and, when we made it again recently, it occurred to us that those dumplings might go well atop that chicken pie filling. They did, so here is the recipe, with the recipe for the chicken component refreshed, the dumplings replacing the layer of mashed potato and some before-and-after photos.
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
30ml plain flour
250-300ml chicken stock
1 tbsp (20ml) brandy
60ml cooking cream
2 tsp strong Dijon mustard or 3 tsp standard
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
500g potato suitable for mashing, eg Dutch Cream
2/3 cup self-raising flour
4 tsp chopped parsley
- 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 the pan is a little dry. As the leek cooks, it will loosen and incorporate the caramelised bits from the base of the pan.
- Add flour and cook for 1 minute over low heat. Add 250ml of the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Return bacon, mushroom and chicken to the pan over medium heat, return to the boil then simmer for 4 minutes. Add cream, brandy, mustard, thyme and a generous grind of black pepper then cook for a further 4 minutes, adding extra stock if the sauce is too thick. Remove from the heat and tip into a baking dish no smaller than 20cm x 20cm.
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- As the chicken is nearing its completion, peel the potato, cut into chunks and cover with plenty of salted, cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 12 minutes or until just tender.
- Drain the potato, return to the pan, add the butter then, when it has melted, add milk and mash until smooth. Add the flour and parsley and stir to combine well. Use a dessert spoon to scoop up portions of the dumpling mix and distribute the dumplings on top of the chicken mix.
- Place dish in oven on the second-highest rack and bake for about 25 minutes or until the dumplings have browned well.
A note about the photos: we cooked a larger amount of the chicken mixture, so we used two round baking dishes, and then, forgetfully, took a photo of the Pyrex dish just out of the oven instead of the white souffle dish.