Chicken Pie with Cream and Mushrooms

Serves:  4-6

Ingredients:  1 boiling fowl or roasting chicken, weighing 1.35-1.6kg/3-3 ½ lb, preferably free range; 2 onions, sliced; 3 carrots, sliced; 2 celery sticks, sliced into crescents; 3 sprigs of parsley, tied together; 1 bay leaf; salt and freshly ground pepper; 45g/1 ½ oz butter; 45g/1 ½ oz plain flour; 115g/4oz button mushrooms; 115g/4oz lean sausage meat, rolled into marble, size balls; 150ml / ¼ pt double cream; shortcrust or rough puff pastry made with 170g/6oz flour; 1 egg yolk, beaten (optional)

  • Put the fowl or chicken into a large pan with the sliced vegetables and the herbs.  Cover with cold water and bring slowly to the boil, skimming off the froth and scrum.  Leave to simmer  for 30 min.  Add a little salt, and continue simmering until the chicken is cooked – this will take 45 min – 1 hour longer.  Let it cool in its broth if there is time, then remove the bird and take the meat off the bones.
  • Make a white sauce with the butter, flour and 450ml / ¾ pt of the strained chicken broth.  Season it well.  Stir in the mushrooms.  Leave to cook gently while you lightly fry the sausage meatballs in a small frying pan for a few min.  Drain them on kitchen paper.  Stir the cream, meatballs and chicken meat very gently into the sauce.  Place a pie funnel in a large pie dish, pour mixture into dish around the funnel and allow to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6.  Roll out the pastry dough to about 5mm/¼ in thick.  Use to cover the pie dish, making a hole in the pastry lid over the funnel.  Brush the pastry lid with the egg yolk or the last few drops in the cream pot.  Bake for 12-15 min.  Then turn the oven down to 180oC/350oF/Gas Mark 4 and bake for a further 15-20 mins.
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