It is a well-known fact that we love a good pie in South Africa. Flaky pastry with a tasty meat centre – what is not to love?
Seriously, a good pie is hard to beat as a great family meal. It is always a good idea, especially during the weekend or when you are too lazy to cook.
Pie-making traditions and techniques in South Africa have evolved, but our eating habits have not changed as much as you might expect. South Africans still love to snack on cheese, spinach, and other sweet and savoury pies.
You will find freshly baked pies in artisan bakeries and restaurants all over South Africa. And if you are feeling too lazy to go out, why not make it at home? This recipe of chicken and mushroom pot pies is totally appropriate to eat for dinner.
Chicken and mushroom pot pies
1 1kg 1 small whole free-range chicken
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs butter
1 diced onion
1 large leek, washed and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp dried herbs
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
500ml chicken stock
250ml full-cream milk
80g fresh or frozen peas (about ½ a cup)
500g mixed cultivated mushrooms, sliced
1 400g roll store store-bought puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Rub chicken all over with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Place in a roasting dish and roast for ± 60 minutes until cooked through.
Leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Shred the chicken and discard the skin.
Use carcass for creating wonderful home-made chicken stock.
Heat butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven or deep sauté pan.
Add the onion, leek, and celery – cook until tender.
Add the garlic, dried herbs, and fresh thyme.
Cook until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the flour and cook for a minute, coating the vegetables well.
Pour in the chicken stock, stirring quickly as you go to incorporate the flour into the liquid.
Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened.
Stir in the peas and the shredded chicken.
Taste to adjust seasoning.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large frying pan.
Sauté mushrooms, in batches, if necessary, until golden brown and they have released all of their liquid. Season lightly.
Fold golden-brown mushrooms into the rest of the filling.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
Select four large ramekins, baking dishes, or little cast iron mini pots or mini pans.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry slightly and cut out pie lids using the ramekins to measure.
Fill the dishes with the chicken and mushroom filling.
Top with the puff pastry, and press the edges down to seal against the ramekins.
Cut four little slits into each pie crust.
Brush all over with egg wash.
Bake for ±35 minutes until deeply golden and the puff pastry is cooked through and perfectly crispy.
Serve pies with a light side salad and enjoy!
Recipe by the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association.