I may have demolished the steps in my new kitchen. I ruined my back but had a brilliant time doing it. I was on the hunt for granite and, quite happily, I found none. Our new house is built on granite. Lots of granite. I assumed we would find a colossal outcrop under the floorboards in the kitchen. It seemed like the only reason you’d put three steep steps up to your kitchen but no. The residents were just tripping of some powerful 60s pills or the like.
Long story short. My house continues to get deadlier. Sweet.
I even called the kitchen man today. I think I’m sadder now than I ever have been. It’s great. I spent ages looking through the kitchen section of Ikea and then lost a large portion of my life swiping through, literally, endless photos of galley kitchens on Houzz.
As for this week’s post it’s Creamy Chicken and Ham and Leek and Pea Pie. it turns out I almost only cook brown things as my ever helpful sister #5 continues to tell me but this is at least savoury so that makes a change. It’s mad frugal too. We had a birthday party for Da on the weekend and my brother-in-law cooked up a fairly delicious hunk o’ ham. There wasn’t enough left to feed four grown ups and two little boys but I couldn’t let it go to the dogs so I made this pie.
It has been a solid favourite of my Husband. Then he saw how I make it and said it made his stomach turn. I really sell my posts well, ay? But this is actually a slight on my husband. One of his few flaws is his disbelief in poaching as a method of cooking chicken. For some reason he is steadfast in his thinking that we are all destined to die a slow and unpleasant death from salmonella unless chicken is browned off first. Such ludicrous logic. For so very many reasons.
So let’s all prove him wrong by cooking this and not dying.
Lastly, all measurements are up to you, mine serve 6. This is a mere guide, use what you have and what you like.
Oven temperature 200 Celsius
Frozen puff pastry 1 packet
Chicken fillets 750g
Celery sticks 2
Whole milk enough to cover the chicken
Frozen peas 200g
Cooked ham 200g
Plain flour 3 tablespoons
Defrost your puff pastry.
Put the chicken, onion, celery and peppercorns into a medium, heavy based saucepan and then pour in enough whole milk to cover the contents.
Put the pan on a medium heat, bring just to the boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Let it cook away for 20mins or until your chicken is cooked – you can take the pieces of chicken out of the milk and cut them across their thickest part to check they’re white/ cooked through.
In your largest frying pan melt the butter on a medium heat. Cut the leeks length-ways and then cross-ways so you end up with lovely halfmoons. Throw them into the frying pan and sweat down for about 5mins.
Throw in the peas and stir a little.
Drain the saucepan, catching all the milk in a big bowl and the chicken and other bits in a colander. You can throw away the onion, celery and peppercorns.
Dice the chicken and add it to the leeks and peas.
Dice your leftover ham and add that in too.
Sprinkle over the flour and stir everything together and let it cook out for about 5mins to get rid of the floury taste.
Next bit is the trickiest bit. Add in the milk, about 100ml at a time, stirring after each addition of milk. Keep going until you get a lovely smooth and creamy sauce. Kind of not too thick custard consistency. You probably won’t need all of the milk. Season the mix well.
Empty all this deliciousness into a large ovenproof dish and level it off.
Unfurl your pastry and cut a piece big enough to cover the top of your pie.
Place it on top of the filling and gently tuck in the edges.
Beat your egg and, using a pastry brush, paint the top of the pie generously.
Finally, slash the top with a sharp knife to let the steam out.
Put it on a baking tray (to catch any spills) and into the oven for about 30mins till impressively brown and happy.
Prove him wrong. Don’t die.