I´m taking part in the January 2013 Food Blog Event, the theme of which is `Creative Chicken`. Chicken is, for me, the meat that I am most comfortable cooking with and so I was very excited when I read that it would be this month´s theme! You can read (in Dutch) about the Food Blog Event on December´s winner´s blog, Uit de keuken van Levine.
If you ask me what my most vivid memory is from High School, I would ashamedly have to admit that it would be my lunch breaks, when I would swap my healthy salad that Mum made religiously for me for a measly 1 dollar coin from a friend of mine so that I could go to the school canteen and by a mince pie. Sadly, my mother put much effort into making those salads as interesting as she could, using different ingredients and dressings to encourage me to eat them. These days I would be incredibly grateful for them. But back then my friend was the only one to appreciate my Mother´s culinary skills, while I preferred to queue with my 1 dollar coin to buy a soggy reheated mince pie.
Later on I came to appreciate the difference in quality between those reheated atrocities and a real pie, the likes of which you can find in any half decent New Zealand bakery (I´m happy to point you to my two favorite pie shops in the Wellington region if you are interested!) and moved on from mince pies to steak.
These days, living in Netherlands I´ve had to learn to make them myself. Making a good steak pie takes time, and so more often than not I´ll cook a chicken version which is much faster.
My Mushy Chicken Pie is an adaptation from the Three Star Pie found in the Speight´s Southern Man Cookbook (a highly recommended cookbook which sadly seems only to be available within New Zealand). I prefer to poach and shred the chicken before quickly sauteeing in a wok with the flour and seasoning (the original recipe uses raw chicken breast covered in the flour and seasoning and cooked in batches). I find the shredded chicken produces a mushier texture in the end and besides, I always take any possible opportunity to poach chicken so that I can freeze and reuse the left over stock.
For the herbs, I prefer to use fresh rosemary and thyme. But you could use tarragon instead (I´m personally not the biggest fan of tarragon, or anything that tastes anything vaguely like licorice).
For the pastry, you always have the option of using store bought puff pastry, but only if you really insist on doing so. I highly recommend trying Gordon Ramsey´s Rough Puff Pastry recipe which takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and produces a much nicer end result. I find bought puff pastry too greasy and can easily turn soggy from the filling.