This is a rich savory pie, the kind we used to take on picnics in England. It’s made up of layers of poached chicken, sausage meat, and a bacon-and-sweet-corn stuffing, all encased in a delicious short crust pastry. For added flavor, I use sausage meat from sausages, rather than plain sausage meat. — Katy Holder, author of A Moveable Feast
- 1 Pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, preferably free range
- 1 Pound good-quality pork sausages
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
For the pastry:
- 14 Ounces plain (all-purpose) flour
- 6 Ounces chilled butter, cubed
For the stuffing
- 2 Teaspoons olive oil
- 3 Ounces rindless bacon, diced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 Ounces fresh breadcrumbs (from day-old bread)
- 3 Tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
- 1 cooked corn on the cob, kernels sliced off (or about 3.5 ounces frozen corn kernels, thawed)
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- 1 Ounce butter, melted
Slice the chicken breast in half horizontally. Put it into a saucepan and add just enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes. Drain the water and set aside. (The chicken doesn’t have to be cooked through.)
For the pastry:
Put the flour and butter into a food processor and mix for about 30 seconds, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add just less than 1/2 cup of cold water and process for 10 seconds. Transfer to a large bowl or work surface and form into a ball (adding a little more water if necessary), kneading very briefly. Divide the pastry into one-third and two-thirds. Press each portion into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for 15 minutes.
Roll out the larger of the two pieces to 12 inches or sufficient to line the base and side of an 8-inch springform (or loose-based) tin (depth 2-3 inches), allowing any excess pastry to hang over the sides. Chill until needed.
For the stuffing
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon for 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and fry for about 5 minutes until softened. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, corn and beaten egg. Mix thoroughly, then season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in the butter.
Take half the stuffing and spread it over the pastry base, pressing it down gently with the back of a spoon. Shred the chicken and layer it on top.
Slit the skins of the sausages and put the meat into a bowl, squashing it all together, then spread it in a layer on top of the chicken, pressing it to the edges. Top with the remaining stuffing, once again gently pressing it down.
Preheat fan-forced oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out the remaining pastry to a circle about 8 inches across. With the excess pastry hanging over the edge, brush the top edge of the pastry in the tin with the beaten egg, then lift the lid onto the pie. Seal gently, pressing down with the tines of a fork. Trim the edges, ensuring the pie is well sealed. Brush the lid with beaten egg and cut a cross in the middle of the pastry to allow steam to escape.
Place the pie on a baking tray and bake for 50 minutes, then brush it with egg again (to get a glossy finish) and bake for a further 10 minutes. Leave to cool completely in the tin before slicing. If transporting the pie, leave it in the tin to keep it safe. Serve accompanied with a dressed green salad and chutney.
Recipes excerpted with permission from A Moveable Feast by Katy Holder (Hardie Grant, 2017)