Monday 28 December 2009

Recipe: Chicken and Artichoke 'Pie'

This pastry-less 'pie' is excellent as a way of using up leftover bird (chicken, in this instance, but just as easily duck, or guinea fowl, or turkey) - which I often find lurking in the fridge, as a two-person household tends only ever to get through half a beast in the course of one dinner. The 'pie' is best eaten once it has cooled for half an hour or so after coming out of the oven, or even cold, on the following day - while it's still hot, the thing will collapse into a heap if you try to slice it, whilst the process of cooling down allows the collagen to firm, and neat slices then become possible. The flavours are better too, once they've been left to mature for a while.

For simplicity's sake, you can make this in a pie dish, covering the top with foil for the first phase of cooking, which you then remove in order to allow the top to brown. For a more finished presentation, as shown above, I use two identical pyrex casserole lids, removing the top one half way through, and then replacing it and inverting the whole thing at the end of cooking - thus achieving a perfectly smooth surface - and then browning the newly-exposed top under the grill for several minutes.

For one 8"diameter 'Pie'.

Ingredients: the meat from two previously cooked chicken legs, cut into 1 cm dice; half a medium-sized aubergine; a cup of artichoke hearts (frozen is fine); 3 oz Butter; 1 tsp dried Thyme; 2 minced Garlic cloves; grated rind from 1 Lemon; 6 medium Potatoes; Salt & Pepper.


1. Cut the aubergine and artichokes into approx 1 cm dice. Melt half the butter in a heavy frying pan , and soften the diced vegetables in Butter for five minutes, until they just begin to colour. Season lightly, and combine in a mixing bowl with the diced Chicken.

2. Stir into this mixture the Thyme, Garlic, and Lemon rind.

3. Heat the oven to 220 degrees C.

4. Peel the potatoes and slice thinly on a mandolin. Melt the remaining Butter in the frying pan, and toss the Potato slices in Butter, then cover with a lid and leave to cook gently for a few minutes - this is really just to make them soft and malleable, so they shouldn't begin to colour at this stage. Season the slices with Salt & Pepper.

5. In a greased pan (or the greased, upturned lid of a pyrex casserole) use two-thirds of the Potato slices to make a complete layer in the base, and then line the sides - use the longer narrower slices for this, and leave the top of the slices sticking up, as you'll want to bend these over the 'pie' filling once it's in place in order to start to form the top of the 'pie'.

6. Over the Potato base, pile the chicken-artichoke-aubergine mixture, then bend the side slices of Potato over the filling, and use the remaining slices to cover the top of the 'pie'.

7. Either cover the 'pie' with aluminium foil, greased on the underside, or else place a second greased pyrex lid over the top. Bake in the oven for twenty five minutes, and then remove the foil or lid and bake until thoroughly browned for a further twenty minutes or so. Remove form the oven If you've used a Pyrex lid, then at this stage put it back in place and invert the 'pie', so that you have a perfect surface which should then be placed under a hot grill for a minute or so in order to brown.

Leave to cool either partially or completely before serving.

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