Once again, 3 months have passed since our last blog. We have been cooking up a storm but not taken time to let you know and for that, we can only apologise. Sometimes life just gets busy and typing a recipe seems less important than consuming the finished product. I digress.
For Christmas, I asked for and received ‘Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes’ and this recipe is based on the one in the book with a few ‘half-assed’ adjustments.
The book says this is ‘very easy’. I wouldn’t go that far but if you follow the steps, you can’t go too far wrong. The results are well worth the effort and this is probably the best pie I have ever made myself. We made a few adjustments from the book recipe which are highlighted in the ingredients.
Vegetable oil, for cooking (we used olive oil)
250g smoked or unsmoked bacon
400g minced chicken, leg only if possible (we phoned our butcher so he could prepare this for us)
2 onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
200g button mushrooms (we have an allergy issue with button mushrooms so used fancy ones)
500ml chicken stock
1 tbsp brined green peppercorns (we couldn’t find any today so used 1 1/2 tbsp capers and a 1/2 tsp chilli flakes)
100g pistachios, roughly chopped (we used salted)
2 tbsp chopped oregano (couldn’t find fresh today so used 1tbsp dried)
1 x 250g packet of filo pastry
150g butter, melted
2 tbsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (we didn’t use a lot of salt due to the salted pistachios but make sure you taste test)
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and drizzle a little oil. Add the bacon and cook until it starts to brown. Add the minced chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until it’s golden brown.
Place a colander over a bowl and drain the meat, reserving the fat (I’m not saying our butcher is amazing (he is) but we didn’t have a lot of fat and had to add more.) pour the fat back into the pan and put over a medium low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). Tip in the mushrooms and cooked meat. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens (10-15 minutes). Turn off the heat and add the peppercorns and most of the chopped pistachios (keep some for garnish). Add the fresh oregano and season (it is really important to taste at this stage). Leave aside to cool.
Take a sheet of filo and brush with butter (don’t be shy with the butter), sprinkle with some dried oregano and put another sheet on top. Brush with butter and sprinkle with oregano. Repeat until you have 6-7 layers. Work quickly so the filo doesn’t dry up. (The jus-roll pastry we bought had 6 layers which I cut in half so I stuck to the 6 layer rule).
Pre-heat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6, 400F. Grease a 20cm diameter cast iron dish or heavy, ovenproof frying pan with some of the melted butter and then press in the layered filo. Spoon in the chicken mixture, pushing it right into the edges. Bring the edges of the filo up over the top of the filling.
Take another sheet of filo, brush with butter and sprinkle with dried oregano. Push it down on top of the filling. Repeat with another 5 layers but place on top of each other with a few creases to add texture. Brush the top layer with butter and sprinkle on the remaining pistachios. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the top is golden and the middle is hot. Serve immediately.
(We served with a very simple salad)
Optional kitchen porn:
80 yr old cast iron skillet (thanks Liz’s grandma)