Last night I made this traditional chicken pie. My recipe is so easy and a really filling, comforting pie for a cosy family supper or a quick Saturday lunch. I always make lots when I make pies and casseroles as it's really no effort to make more and it's great to have in the freezer. The quantity below made one generous pie for 2 or 3 adults and 4 small pies (to serve two children each). I don't add any salt as there is smoked bacon in the recipe.
4 chicken breasts, chopped into cubes
2 large onions, diced
6 rashers streaky smoked bacon, diced
2 cans sweetcorn or the equivalent in fresh sweetcorn
1 1/2 pint of milk
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
Remove the pastry from the fridge.
The filling Fry the onions and bacon in a splash of oil until the onions start to soften. Add the chicken and fry until cooked. Remove from the heat.
How to make white sauce. Melt the butter of a highish heat and stir in the flour until you have a smooth thick paste. Remove from the heat. Very, very gradually add the milk, just a splash at a time at first. Stir vigorously each time keeping the roux (paste) smooth. You will be able to add larger quantities of milk each time. Return to the heat and stir until thick. Do not stop stirring! I put on an episode of Postman Pat to keep the children happy at this stage. Once thickened I like to add an egg to add richness and a bit of colour, stir it in very quickly or it will start to cook. You can speed the process up by warming the milk in a microwave first, or standing on the back of the Aga. Put a piece of clingfilm over the top of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming - the film needs to be in contact with the surface.
Put it all together If you are going to cook the pie immediately then put the chicken mixture in the pie dish/es, add the sweetcorn and dollop the white sauce on top.
Unroll the pastry cut to size and lie on top of the dish. Use a sharp knife to score lines over the pastry, cut about half way through the thickness of the pastry - this helps with the puffing. Be creative! If your pie dish is oval, trim off the corners of the pastry and roll the resulting triangles up to make rosebuds and use them to decorate your pie.
If you are going to cook later I allow everything to cool before assembling.
Bake in the top oven of the Aga until golden brown and sizzling hot.
Variations - replace the onions with leeks, add mushrooms...