Actor Simon Delaney's comforting chicken pot pie with crispy bacon

Daily Dish: The actor and comedian gives his buttery puff pastry-topped pie a twist with crispy bacon

Chicken pie topped with puff pastry

Chicken pie topped with puff pastry

 

When I researched this recipe for my cookbook, I found out the pot pie originated in Greece. Yes, Greece. I had no idea either.

The Greeks cooked meat and placed them in open pastry shells that were called artocreas. And it was the Romans who added the top crust making chicken pot pie into an actual pie.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

When it comes to pastry on this pie, I always use shop-bought puff pastry. If you have the time and inclination to make it from scratch, go for it. I’ll admire you from afar. I just never have the time nor the patience.

Most chefs will tell you that shop-bought is as good, so that’s good enough for me. My little twist on the traditional recipe is to add crispy bacon to the pie. This gives the dish another layer of flavour.

What you’ll need:

Serves 4-6

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1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
900g boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 medium leeks, washed and chopped into ½ inch pieces
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 sticks celery, finely sliced
2 tsp dried thyme
2½ tbsp flour
1 glass white wine
1 glass water
400ml whole milk
Salt and pepper
180g bacon
450g puff pastry

How to make it:

1. In a large casserole pot over a medium heat, add a little olive oil and butter and when it is sizzling, add chicken, leeks, carrots, celery and the thyme. Cook this for around 15 minutes, then add the flour and stir it in.

2. Add glass of wine, followed by a glass of water, and then the milk. Cover the dish with a tight-fitting lid and simmer on the stove for 20 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Keep and eye on it and stir it every so often so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. The sauce should be loose, but quite thick. If the sauce is a little too loose, continue to cook it with the lid off until it thickens slightly and if you need to, you can add a little more flour. (If you are adding flour, make sure to stir it in so it doesn’t go clumpy). Season the dish with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

3. While this is cooking away, take your rashers and cut them into two-inch pieces, pop them into a frying pan with a little olive oil and fry until nice and crisp.

4. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees Celsius, or equivalent.

5. Pour the chicken stew into a large pie dish. Spread the cooked rashers evenly around the top of the stew.

6. Roll out your pastry, not too thin, to about a quarter of an inch thick. Egg-wash the rim of the pie dish and drape over the pastry, using a knife to trim the edge of the dish. Egg-wash the top of the pastry to make it go golden while cooking. If you can, crimp the pastry around the edges. You can use the back of your knife to make a nice criss-cross pattern across the top of the pie. This will also allow the pastry to go crisp and flaky.

7. Pop the pie into the centre of the oven and cook for about 30 - 40 minutes, until golden on top.

Simon Delaney is an actor, TV presenter and Celebrity MasterChef Finalist.

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