Reading the early books of Harry Potter is always likely to leave me craving some classic British favorites – one scene in particular will always set in motion a craving – Ronald Weasley eating Chicken and Ham Pie! Mrs Weasley is another character I always associate with food cravings – if I find myself reading any of Mrs Weasleys exploits in the kitchen you can guarantee something from that chapter will feature on our table the same night!
Two of the children in our family are extremely fussy eaters, always opting for hamburgers, fried fish and meat over healthier options. But I managed to get them to give this a try purely and simply because I introduced it as Hogwarts Chicken and Ham Pie. I have discovered sometimes it pays to use all manner of deceit to make these children try something new and outside their comfort zone – hence the name here! In that respect I have more to thank JK Rowling for than just her ability to get these kids reading – her descriptions of foods prepared by both Hogwarts elves and Mrs Weasley are also helping to get these two kids to eat new foods – something they would never have done before!
1.75 pints chicken stock
1 lb floury potatoes (i.e. Maris Piper), peeled and roughly diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
1 small handful of flat leaf parsley (leaves only, finely chopped)
2 oz unsalted butter
6 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 sticks celery, washed peeled and finely sliced
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only finely chopped
2 tbsp plain flour
8 fl oz double cream
8 oz home baked ham, finely diced
2 lbs 4 oz chicken breast, skin removed and diced
8 oz chestnut mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb 2 oz good quality puff pastry
Egg wash – 1 egg mixed with 1 tbsp cold water or milk
- Lightly butter a 2 to 3 litre pie dish.
- Pour the stock into a large saucepan, bring up to a simmer then add the potatoes and carrot, season with salt and pepper, add the bay leaf and parsley, continue simmering on a medium heat.
- Add half the butter to a large frying pan, when melted add the shallots, celery and thyme and sauté until just beginning to change colour, approx 3 to 4 minutes, sprinkle over the flour and stir in, cook for two minutes then add a ladle of stock and stir until smooth, add this mixture to the stock while stirring.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, remove the bay leaf and blend until smooth, return to the saucepan set over a medium heat and simmer vigorously until the stock has reduced by half, stirring frequently, add half of the cream, stir and taste, adjust seasoning if necessary then add the ham.
- Add the remainder of the butter to a frying pan, when hot brown the chicken in batches, add the mushroom and leeks, when browned add the chicken and mushrooms to the saucepan with the juices and stir.
- Simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens and reduces, use a diffuser to stop the mixture from sticking and or burning, stir frequently. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and also be glossy.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
- Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface to the thickness of about 3mm and large enough to cover the pie dish you are using with a 2cm overhang, then cut out 4 pieces of pastry 2 cm wide to go around the pie dish.
- Add the pie filling to the dish, brush the rim with a little water, lay the pastry strips over the rim joining where necessary the press down lightly, brush the rim with beaten egg yolk.
- Place the pastry on top and press down around the rim to seal, trim off any excess pastry and use the prongs of a fork to seal, if liked decorate with pastry leaves.
- Cut a vent in the top and brush with the egg glaze.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 180ºC and bake until the pastry is a light golden brown.
- Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes, serve with butter mash and seasonal vegetables.
*All house elves were freed after the preparation of this recipe.