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Chicken and mushroom pie

A delicious way to use up left over chicken.  I had never made pastry until about a year ago, and I would still admit that shop bought pastry is much easier and probably slightly tastier than mine. I certainly would not win the Great British Bake Off! But home made is definitely cheaper, healthier and not as much of a hassle as I had originally imagined.  And it fits the Four and a half bellies challenge.  And when Mrs Doubtfire saw this pie in the preparation stage, it was enough to lead to a "We're having a meat pie?!", and a huge hug of excitement after the lentil dish from the night before.  Definitely worth it.  
Ingredients

For the filling: 
  • half onion, chopped fine
  • 8 button mushrooms, sliced thin (or other vegetables would do, such as peas or sweetcorn)
  • 25-50g butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • half-1 pint milk
  • chicken bits left over from a roast chicken - as much as you can spare
  • seasoning
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • handful grated cheddar cheese
For the pastry:
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter/ marg at room temperature
  • 4-8 tbsp cold water

Method
  1. In a large saucepan fry the onion in  half the butter and a splash of olive oil for about 5 minutes until golden. Then add the mushrooms and fry for another 5-10 minutes. 
  2. Add the rest of the 25-50g butter, melt, and add the flour, stirring to make a thick paste.  Gradually add the milk little by little to form a thick white sauce around the onion and mushrooms.  
  3. Add the chicken pieces. Season to taste and add a sprinkling of ground nutmeg.  Add the cheese if using.
  4. Transfer to an oven proof pie dish.
  5. Now turn your attention to the pastry.  Ideally it should sit for half an hour, according to the recipes. I rarely have time for this, as I am usually chasing little people into bed instead, and so I generally make the pastry and roll it out as soon as it is made. I am sure this is one reason why it is less than perfect, but if it tastes good and works out ok, why worry?
  6. To make the pastry sift the plain flour into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt if you want. Dice the butter/ marg into the bowl and rub together with your fingertips.  Add a very small amount of water, perhaps just 3-4 tablespoons and start to bring the butter/flour mixture to a dough with a fork or a knife. Add more water if necessary until the dough forms a ball and comes away from the bowl.  Now, this is what the recipes say, but it rarely happens to me that easily and I bash it around adding more flour and water as I think it needs. Somehow it generally works.  
  7. Leave the pastry to rest in a plastic bag (I reuse the ones that the supermarkets put fruit and veg in) if you have time.  
  8. When you are ready, roll out the dough and cut it into as circular shape as possible. My dough never rolls out like the TV chefs' do and it resembles a jigsaw puzzle but I don't worry about it.  At least it looks homemade (imagine if the eaters did not realise it was homemade because it looked so perfect, and then all your time and energy would be wasted...) and tastes fine, so don't spend your time or mental energy on being a perfectionist - enjoy a hot bath or read a few pages of the newspaper instead.  
  9. Carefully lift it onto the pie dish and press the top down onto the sides of the dish.  If you have one of those pie blackbirds to let the steam out that is great, but if not, just cut a little cross in the centre.  My pastry never comes out in one piece and I glue it together with bits of left over pastry. It looks very bodged indeed. You could spend your time making pretty decorations with the left over pastry, but I don't think I would get an extra hug from Mrs Doubtfire for that, so frankly I would rather go and practise the piano or something. 
  10. Transfer to a hot oven for about 40 minutes until the filling is piping hot and the pie crust is golden.  
  11. Eat, enjoy and be proud.  
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