It’s become cold in Sydney all of a sudden. Well, I guess it is almost June, but having had nothing of a summer, it’s confronting to be suddenly faced with winter. I wish, wish, wish the rain would stop and give us all a chance to dry out a bit. Winter isn’t exactly known for being ‘not damp’ where I live, but at least we’d stand a chance?
Time to chop the wood for fires and drag out the door snakes to stop the drafts from rattling through our home. It’s nice to be perched on top of a hill in summer, not so much in winter. At least the open fire keeps things warm and a bit drier. We have central heating, but I’m not a big fan. It’s been saving us from being over run with mould these past few months, but it’s not the best for atmosphere. You can’t beat a fireplace for that.
To really get us into the wintry spirit, this weekend I’m planning on baking this chicken stroganoff double-crust pie from Sally Wise’s The Comfort Bake. It’s a beautiful pie from beautiful book by a beautiful cook. I basically want to make every single recipe inside – so much good stuff. The book’s byline is “food that warms the heart” and just leafing through it is enough to make you feel calm and cared for.
Other recipes I have my eye on (besides this yummy chicken stroganoff pie):
- Apricot and blueberry tray bake
- Creamy potato bake
- Ultimate sausage rolls
- Spiced ginger cookie sandwiches
- Honey and caramel topsy turvy pear cake
Yes please to all of the above!
But let’s get on with the chicken stroganoff pie first. That ‘double crust’ has got me intrigued and more than a little excited – more pastry!
Chicken stroganoff double-crust pie
From The Comfort Bake by Sally Wise
In this warming winter dish, a luxurious creamy mushroom sauce blends with oven-baked chicken. Baking the chicken first seals in its juices and enhances the flavour.
For the pastry
250 g plain flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
125 g cold salted butter
1 egg yolk whisked with 20 ml water, for glaze
For the filling
20 ml extra virgin olive oil
10 g (¼ oz) salted butter
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon mustard powder
500 g skinless chicken breast fillet
300 g mushrooms, cut into 1 cm (½ inch) slices
1 small onion, diced
1 leek, white part only, cut into 8 mm (3/8 inch) slices
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
300 ml chicken stock
3 teaspoons cornflour mixed to a paste with 30 ml cold water
125 ml (4 fl oz) pouring cream, whisked together with
1 egg yolk
3 teaspoons lemon juice
sea salt, to taste
To make the pastry
Place the dry ingredients and butter in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. (Alternatively, this can be achieved by rubbing the ingredients together with your fingers.)
Transfer to a large bowl, make a well in the centre and drizzle in enough cold water – around 125 ml (4 fl oz) – to make a soft dough. Don’t add more water than is necessary or it will become too wet.
Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up before using.
To make the filling
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Heat the oil and butter in an 18 x 28 cm (7 x 11¼ inch) flameproof baking dish, 5 cm (2 inches) deep, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the salt, paprika, thyme and mustard powder in a small bowl, then rub all over the chicken breast. Add the chicken to the hot dish and bake for 5 minutes, then turn and bake for 5 minutes more, or until just cooked through. Remove from the oven, cut the chicken into 1 cm (½ inch) pieces and set aside to cool.
Add the mushrooms, onion, leek, garlic and chopped thyme to the dish and stir to coat with the chicken juices. Heat over medium heat and sauté until the onion is soft, around 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Thicken with the cornflour paste, boiling for 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream mixture and the lemon juice, then add the chicken pieces. Add sea salt, to taste, and set aside to cool.
To assemble for baking
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) round pie dish, 6 cm (2½ inches) deep.
Cut one-third from the pastry, cover and set aside. Roll the remaining pastry out on a lightly floured surface until large enough to fit the base and side of the dish. Press into place, spoon in the cool filling, then brush the upper pastry edge with a little cold water. Roll out the reserved pastry to make a circle large enough to cover the top. Lay the pastry top over the filling and crimp the edges together with your fingers or a fork to firmly seal. If desired, make small leaves from the scraps of pastry. Brush with the egg glaze. If using, place the pastry leaves on top and glaze. Prick the top in several places with a fork.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 170°C and bake for 20–25 minutes more, or until the pastry is golden and the filling is piping hot.
Note: The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the fridge.
Images and text from The Comfort Bake by Sally Wise, photography by Samuel Shelley. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.