Although winter is technically over, I can't help but feel that it hasn't fully given way to let summer take its place. Sure, there are times where the sunlight bursts through the windows and it genuinely looks like a decent day outside. However, this is almost always followed by heavy rain within the space of 10 minutes. It's OK though, the rain stops after about 15 minutes. Whereupon this process repeats itself till the evening.
The weather in Auckland doesn't know how to make up its mind.
Oh, and it's still super cold.
Now that I've gotten my complaining out of the way, I can focus on the good things about this cold weather that has been dragging on for way too long (I'm still a little bitter though..).
The reason for my optimism is that the cold weather gives me an excuse to continue eating winter food such as soups, casseroles and, most importantly, pies!
Nothing, and I mean Nothing, beats a good pie. Period.
I got the idea to make these when my colleague had a pie for lunch and, for that whole week, I couldn't get it off my mind. Something about pies just brings a smile to my face and great thing about home made ones is that you know exactly what has gone into it.
My recipe for Chicken Pot Pie is quite easy and incredibly delicious so I strongly suggest you give it a go before winter truly ends. It's a great way to pack vegetables into your meal and the fact that it only has one lid means you have the crunchy pastry without a lot of the fat!
The store bought pastry I had wasn't the best size for my pie tins so I spooned some of the filling onto the offcuts and baked for about 20 minutes.
It was fantastic.
In fact, I think I'll make these as snacks next time.
Chicken Pot Pies (Makes 5 large or 10 small)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
300g chicken, cut into 2cm cubes (I prefer thigh meat because it's juicier)
1 onion, finely diced
1 large potato, cut into 2cm cubes
200g bacon, roughly chopped
1 can peas, drained
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 litre chicken stock
1/3 cup plain flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 to 4 sheets of frozen puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add onion and bacon and cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent and bacon is crispy.
2. Reduce the pot to a low heat. Add potato and half of the stock until potato is tender.
3. In another pan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour has browned slightly. Gradually add the rest of the chicken stock and continue to stir.
4. Add the vegetable mixture, chicken, peas, parsley and thyme and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
5. Bring the pan back to a simmer and cook for another 7-8 minutes, stirring constantly.
6. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
7. Divide the filling between however many ramekins you have, leaving about 1cm to the top.
8. Cut out rounds 2cm larger than edge of your ramekins/pie tins. Put the lids on top of the filling and fold the sides to make a pretty edge. Cut some small lines in the centre of the lid for steam to escape.
9. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the pies are golden brown and bubbling.
10. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Note: If you have left over pastry and a little extra filling, you can always spoon some filling onto flaky pastry squares for a delicious snack like above. Just bake for 20 minutes and you're done!