‘To Make Short Paest for Tarte – Take fyne floure and a cursey of fayre water and a dysche of swete butter and a lyttel saffron, and the yolckes of two egges and make it thynne and as tender as ye maye’
A Proper newe Booke of Cokerye – 1545
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So, as you can see, pies have been around a long time in English history. It’s nice to think that what pleased Henry VIII (and presumably his wives for a brief period) is still being enjoyed today. There’s nothing more satisfying than cutting into flaky pastry to reveal the creamy mix of meat and vegetables within.
This pie is probably not the most traditional, but it has the benefit of the widest appeal, since it is so versatile. If you have children, you can just choose the vegetables they most like to have and bung it in the stock to start with. If you’re a vegetarian, you could certainly replace the chicken with potatoes or root vegetables; anything chunky will do. For best results though, use the recipe below; it’s a hearty meal for an autumnal day.
250g plain flour
400g butter or shortening
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons of salt
Water to bind the pastry
500ml chicken stock
450g skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped into bite-sized chunks
3 carrots, sliced
2 sticks of celery, sliced
150g frozen green peas
1 small onion, chopped
40g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 egg, beaten
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend together in a food processor until crumbly, then add the egg and the water until it just comes together in a ball. Take out the dough and knead until you have a firm ball. Divide in two and place one half in the refrigerator.
- Roll out the other half of the pastry to cover the bottom of a 22cm oven dish, then place in the refrigerator too.
- Preheat oven to 220°C / 425°F
- Heat the stock in a large saucepan. Add the chicken, carrots, peas and celery and boil for 20 minutes, uncovered. Drain but reserve stock.
- Meanwhile, cook the onions in the butter until soft and translucent, then stir in the flour and seasoning. Slowly stir in the milk and stock. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick, then set aside.
- Place the chicken and vegetable mixture in bottom of your pastry-covered oven dish. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Roll out the remaining dough to make a lid for the pie, sealing the edges, and cutting away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush the top with beaten egg.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Want more fantastic recipes? Check out our Expat Cookbook!
Recipe by Farrah Gillani
Photo Credit: Mr & Mrs Stickyfingers