Friday, March 18, 2016

Michael Caine's Chicken and Bacon Pie

Michael Caine's Chicken and Bacon Pie

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Few drops of lemon juice, optional
1 stick chilled butter, cut in small pieces
About 1/4 cup ice water
1 egg yolk, mixed with a few drops of water

Sift together flourand salt in mixing bowl; add lemon juice. Cut butter into flour-salt mixture with pastry blender until texture of fine cornmeal. Gradually add ice water, toss lightly with fork until pastry forms a ball. Turn out on lightly floured board; knead lightly a few seconds. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut circle the size of a deep pie dish (or casserole) allowing 1-inch for overhang. Refrigerate crust between layers of wax paper until ready to assemble pie. Set aside egg yolk-water mixture until ready to use.

For the filling:

One 3-pound broiler-fryer chicken, boned, cut in 1-inch cubes
About 1 cup water (or chicken stock)
3 thin slices of lemon
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of parsley
2 bruised white peppercorns (or white pepper)
Salt to taste
1/2 pound piece of bacon (or 1 cup diced cooked ham)
Cold water
4 tablespoons butter
2 small onions, peeled and sliced
3 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons light cream
12 small mushroom caps
1/4 teaspoon crumbled thyme
1/4 teaspoon crumbled rosemary
3 hard-cooked eggs, shelled and quartered
Cayenne to taste
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind

Cover chicken with enough water (or chicken stock) to cover. Add lemon slices, bay leaf, thyme, parsley, peppercorns (or white pepper to taste), salt to taste. Cover, simmer 25 minutes (or until chicken is barely tender). Strain stock and reserve. Separate chicken, set aside. Discard herbs, lemon slices. Cut bacon in small cubes; place in saucepan with cold water to cover. Blanch a few minutes; drain. Saute bacon in 3 tablespoons butter, lift out bacon bits; reserve. Saute onion in pan drippings; lift out, reserve. Gradually add flour to skillet with pan drippings, cook and stir until smooth. Gradually add half the strained chicken stock, cook, stir until smooth and thick. Add wine, cream; cook slowly until thick, stirring. Taste to correct seasonings. Brown mushrooms in remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

To assemble pie:

Butter deep pie dish (or ovenproof casserole). Arrange half the chicken in bottom of pie dish (or casserole). Season with half the thyme, rosemary; top with bacon bits (or ham) and cooked onion. Arrange layer of hard-cooked eggs, sprinkle evenly with cayenne to taste, parsley, grated lemon rind and layer of mushrooms. Finish assembling pie, ending top layer with chicken and remaining thyme and rosemary. Spoon sauce over top, allowing it to seep down and fill in spaces. (Use only about 1 cup sauce.) Cut vent in prepared crust, place on pie dish (or casserole), sealing edges carefully. Bake pie in preheated 400 degrees F. oven 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. and bake 20 minutes longer (or until crust is nicely browned). Serve at room temperature, cut in pie-shaped wedges, serve with chilled white wine or champagne. Serves 6.

Thoughts: Meat pies, hot or cold, are prepared countless ways in England. Delicious prepared with game (pheasant, grouse or hare, marinated in red wine and-or cognac) or sausages, forcemeat, veal or pork. Pies can be baked in individual ramekins or family-size casseroles. Often, pie funnel is added during baking and sauce added after baking, giving it a congealed texture.

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