Last night I discovered something rather interesting. Last night I discovered that instagram loves pie. Oh yes. They are a whole bunch of pie-lovers over there. My instagram photo of my dinner last night was one of my most popular food photos, and we all know how saturated instagram is with boring food photos.
You see, yesterday I made my first proper pie. I have somehow avoided making pie in the past as it’s not really my bag. I have never found pies that appealing, there are normally bits in pies that I am suspicious of (ever the fussy eater…). But somehow an idea for a pie with bacon (of course) popped into my head one evening as I was falling asleep. I duly added the note to my growing list of Recipe Ideas on my iphone and went back to sleep. I then developed the idea a bit further and decided that by making my own pie I could put in exactly what I wanted. I decided on a winning combination of Chicken, Bacon and Spinach for my pie filling.
This was a total new territory for me. I cheated by using ready-made shop-bought pastry for the pie topping but the whole thing turned into a sticky mess. I should have made my own (next time I will). So the pie topping shrunk a bit and it went a bit Pete tong. So whilst this may not be the prettiest of pie, it was certainly one of the tastiest. My family lapped up the pie in minutes so I am totally making this one again in the very near future.
Chicken, Bacon and Spinach Pie (serves 4)
8 boneless chicken thighs, cut into quarters
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 rashers bacon, finely sliced into strips
1 large onion, finely diced
2 tsp garlic puree
large handful fresh thyme (don’t be shy with the thyme, it brings this dish to life!)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp plain flour
400ml chicken stock, fairly weak as the bacon will provide a lot of saltiness (I used half a Knorr Stock Pot)
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
400g puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
using a high-sided frying pan fry the chicken in half the oil until light brown. remove and set aside.
fry the onion with a little salt and the rest of the oil on a medium-low heat, stirring regularly until they are soft and translucent. push onions to the side of the pan and add the bacon strips. turn up the heat a little and fry until crispy.
return the chicken the pan with the garlic puree and fresh thyme. heat through for 2 minutes. season with some freshly ground black pepper.
stir through the plain flour 1 tablespoon at a time before adding the chicken stock slowly followed by the milk.
turn the heat up high and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
the mixture should be nicely a gloopy, not too runny. turn off the heat and fold in the spinach until it begins to wilt.
pour the mixture into a pie dish and allow to cool.
meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C (this is for a fan-assisted, adjust accordingly for your oven).
roll out the puff pastry to the thickness of a pound coin. carefully place over the pie dish using a rolling pin to support it (have you seen Great British Bake Off? they do it well on there).
pinch the edges of the pasty into the side of the dish and then brush all over the pastry with the egg wash. poke a small hole into the middle of the pastry.
bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry top is golden and crispy.