Julia’s Heart-Warming Chicken, Leek + Porcini Pie

Chicken, Leek + Porcini Pie

(Serves 6) 

1.4kg skin on, bone in, chicken thighs
600ml full-cream milk
2 fresh bay leaves
4 peppercorns
4 sprigs of tarragon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
3 small leeks, white and pale, green parts, well washed and finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
10g dried sliced porcini
2 sprigs thyme
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp plain flour
Sea salt and black pepper
1 x 375g sheet puff pastry
1 egg, for egg wash

Leafy salad, to serve


Place the chicken thighs in a saucepan along with the milk, bay leaves, peppercorns and half of the tarragon. Cover directly with a round piece of baking paper (cartouche) to help keep the chicken submerged and cook evenly. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and poach the chicken in the milk for 15 minutes or until just cooked through. Remove the chicken from the milk and shred it into large pieces, discarding the bones and skin. Set aside in a large bowl. Keep the milk warm on the stove.

Warm the olive oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat and when the butter starts to foam, add the leek and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 – 8 minutes, until softened. Add the porcini and cook for a further 2-3 minutes to soften.

Add the remaining tarragon and the thyme, followed by the mustard. Sprinkle in the flour and stir really well to prevent any lumps from forming. Strain the warm milk mixture, then pour 500ml of the milk into the pan, stirring well. Simmer the mixture for 3 – 4 minutes, until thickened. Add the chicken and season to taste then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190C (210 C conventional).

Grease a round dish or oven-safe pan (I use a 24cm pan) with some butter then tumble in the filling. Cut the pastry into a circle the size of your dish and using a sharp knife, make sweeping lines in the top of the pastry to create a lovely pattern. Cut a small hole from the centre to allow steam to escape, then drape the pastry onto the pie filling.

Whisk the egg with 1 tsp of water, brush over the pastry and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and deep golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with a leafy salad.

What else I’m cooking: Persimmons thinly sliced and served with buffalo mozzarella and mint. Drizzled with plenty of good olive oil! A real treat.

What else I’m eating: The potato rosti and everything on the menu at Bistra — a cosy little restaurant in Carlton with a super delicious menu.

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