There's nothing like a proper British pie and this Chicken and Ham pie is the perfect comfort recipe. This dish is perfect to make in advance and serve cold in a packed lunch or picnic, or even for supper with a delicious salad.
For the pastry:
125g lard or half lard and half butter
400g plain flour
2 or 3 good pinches of salt
For the filling:
250g pork shoulder, usually bought cubed for casseroling
250g pork belly, cut into 4cm pieces
100g smoked bacon, either back, streaky or lardons
250g chicken breast, sliced, or mini fillets
1 tsp each chopped fresh thyme and sage
1/2 tsp mace if you have some
a pinch or two of nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp black onion (nigella) seeds (optional)
1 Egg yolk mixed with 2 tbsps milk and a pinch of salt
300ml chicken, ham or vegetable stock
3 gelatine leaves
This quantity makes a 16cm diameter pie in a deep pie dish or tin. The AGA Cast-Iron 16cm Casserole is ideal. For a larger pie, use 1 and a half times the ingredients and bake in the Portmerion for AGA Pie Dish.
- Grease the tin or pie dish with a little of the lard. To make the pastry, weigh the flour into a heatproof bowl and add the salt. Heat the lard/butter and water until boiling. Pour into the flour and mix together first with a knife or wooden spoon and then using your hands, bringing it together into a ball. Knead gently for a few minutes until smooth.
- Separate a piece approximately a third of the pastry to be used for the pastry lid and set aside. Roll the remaining pastry to no less than the thickness of a £1 coin and use to line the tin, pressing it gently into the corners. Chill uncovered in the fridge while you make the lid and filling. Roll the remaining pie of pastry between two pieces of Bake-o-Glide or greaseproof paper to the same thickness. Cut to the shape of the dish.
- Finely chop the pork shoulder, pork belly and bacon but be careful not to over chop (this is most easily done in a food processor). Next, mix this finely chopped pork and bacon with the herbs and spices if using and add the salt and pepper. To fill the pie, place half the filling mix into the bottom of the lined pie dish. Layer over the chicken breast slices and top with the remaining filling mix.
- Place the rolled pastry for the lid on the top, trim to fit and crimp together the edges using your fingers. Roll and cut the pastry trimmings to decorate and brush well with the beaten egg and milk mixture. Sprinkle over the nigella seeds if using. Finally, make 3 steam holes in the pastry lid using the end of a wooden spoon.
- Bake the pie in the AGA roasting oven, on the grid shelf on the floor, for 20 mins. Insert the cold plain shelf on the 2nd set of runners above if the pastry starts to brown too quickly. Transfer to the AGA baking oven for an hour and 15 mins.
- Remove from the oven, insert a skewer into the centre of the pie and wiggle about a little make a small hole and leave the pie to cool completely. Once cold, the pie can be removed from the tin or dish, or can be served in the dish.
- Finally, some stock made into jelly is added to the pie to keep it moist, juicy and flavoursome. First put the gelatine leaves into a small bowl of cold water hot soften for a few minutes. Make up the stock if using a stock cube or powder, the heat to warm but not boiling. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves and stir them into the warm stock.
- Carefully pour this mixture into the skewer hole in the pie. Chill in the fridge until set. Serve cold with chutney or pickle, salad or just one its own for a picnic or packed lunch.