Sunday, 6 November 2011

Chicken Pie with Fennel and Tarragon

A couple of weeks ago I was helping my friend Michelle moving and I was given the task to assemble the TV stand. Here's something you should know about me: I suck at D.I.Y. True story: I once called an electrician to replace light bulbs... Pathetic, I know. But to be fair, it was halogen bulbs which I had no idea how to replace and since then I learned and now I know what to do.

Back to the TV stand, I followed the instructions word per word and I succeed. I came back to her flat a couple of days ago and the TV stand is still.... standing. So perhaps I am not that bad at D.I.Y... I am just lazy. I think that's the main reason.

In a way, cooking or baking is also a form of D.I.Y and until now, one of the things I am still scared of sometime is pastry. There are days when I get it spot on. And there are plentier days when it ended up in the bin. But I believe practise makes perfect. So, when I was asked to 're-invent' a recipe from, I immediately turned to the pastry section and I chose to bake a chicken pie.

By 're-invent', I didn't make it completely different to the chicken pie you and I know, I simply want to add more flavours to it. And the flavours I am completely mad about at the moment are fennel and tarragon. I absolutely love it!! To the extend that my shower gel is now also infused with fennel (too much information?!). Both flavour works beautifully.

And for the pastry, I have tried several shortcrust pastry recipe and this is the one that really works for me. The Parmesan cheese is optional, but I really want a flavourful pastry.

Visit more recipes, baking tips and ideas including bread, cakes, pies and cupcake making.

Now, the door handle also needs fixing... can I be bothered to give it a go, or just call the handyman?

Chicken Pie with Fennel and Tarragon
Serves 2 - 3

For the pastry
225 grams plain flour
100 grams cold butter, diced
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a pinch of salt

For the filling
Half a chicken, cooked and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil, the regular stuff
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
2 fennel bulbs, chopped
a small bunch of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
65 grams pancetta, cubed
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
100 gr chestnut mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon plain flour
125 ml white wine
250 ml chicken stock
50 ml double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 egg, beaten lightly

Start by making the pastry. Put the flour, butter, salt and Parmesan in a food processor and pulse until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolks and pulse again until a dough is formed. Squidge the mixture together into a ball, cover with cling and put it in the fridge to rest for minimum of 30 minutes.

Now, make the filling. In a pan, on a medium heat, add the olive oil, butter, onion and fennel with a little sprinkle of salt. Cook until both the onion and fennel become soft, stirring frequently. Add the pancetta and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the finely minced garlic and fresh tarragon leaves; followed by the flour. Cook for a little bit to get rid of the flouriness. Add the wine and the chicken stock. When I say chicken stock, what I really mean is water with once chicken stock cube. But, if you have home-made chicken stock, congratulations, you may use that. Cook until the mixture becomes deliciously creamy. When it comes to a bubble, add the chestnut mushrooms and the double cream, mixing well and turn off the heat. Let it cool a bit.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and let it warm up a little; it will make it easier to roll. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured board, large enough to cover your pie dish. And with the excess, you can make the decorative ornaments for the pastry. Although, obviously there is no need to. I just feel like it.

Taste the filling if it needs more seasoning and adjust to your liking. Then put it in the pie dish. Brush the pastry rim with the beaten egg and place on the pie dish, pressing it down well with the edge of a fork. Brush the pastry with the egg to give it a shiny glaze when it come out of the oven.

Bake the pie for about 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with peas.


  1. Pastry is one aspect of baking I too have never entirely been successful with! I think I just need to confront my demons and practice, practice, practice! A lovely, warming recipe Micheal.

  2. Alright, you made your confessions. Now I make mine. I don't "do" pastry. I can, nowever, buy it. I've been thinking about doing chicken pot pie for some time. At the moment we have a whole bunch of cooked chicken (from last night's roaster).

  3. wow That's a piece of art! This chicken pie is definitely star-restaurant level. Well done!

  4. Oooh - looks lovely. I can't do pastry and have never made a pie or tart that doesn't look deformed. That's far worse for a food blogger than not being able to do DIY!
    Love the story about calling the electrician to change a lightbulb - hee hee!!!!!

  5. Oh wow, didn't this come out gorgeous. YUMMY

  6. Looks fantastic, Michael! And in case you have some time.. Chris and I will be moving next weekend... promise I won't make you put anything together if you come help :)

  7. That is one gorgeous pot pie Michael! I am a terrible baker so I am a bit jealous :) I say you go for the the door knob repair, master it, then call in a handy man for further jobs, lol...

  8. Beautiful job with the decorative pastry, Michael. And I love the fennel in your pot pie!

  9. Michael, your pie looks like that just came from a bakery...looks great and I love the idea of adding Parmesan cheese to the pie crust...super tasty.
    Hope you are having a nice week :-)

  10. Thank you all so much for the lovely comments!
    Have a great day to all of you.

    @Alisha: I went to the hardware store yesterday and I managed to fix the door knob! Yay! I am very pleased I must say.

  11. I'm loving the flavors in this chicken pie. I haven't made on win a while. You've got me craving one.

  12. You asked your electrician to replace your light bulbs, haha! (so funny for a scientist point of view). Pastry is quite tricky, it is all about accuracy and techniques. Once baked, you can't turn back unlike savory dishes which you can easily adjust seasoning without any problem.

    Talking about fennel and tarragon, you should use it in ice cream.

    Good job on fixing your door knob :)

  13. I just signed up to follow your wonderful blog! I can't wait to spend time here reading all of your creative posts!

  14. Your chicken pie looks absolutely stunning, Michael! Would have loved to see the inside, with all the delicious fillings!

  15. Oh no, I have been craving pies for months now but too scared to give it a go since I've burned one years ago. I suck at pastry. Can I just have your chicken pie, please? :D