Shepherd’s Chicken Pie
The light and fluffy potato puree on top of this pie can be put to other uses, served simply as a mash with other meals, or on top of other mince mixtures or meat dishes such as stews. Using the fanbake option on an oven increases the temperature by around 10°C. If your oven doesn’t have a fanbake option, cook this dish at 190°C. Splatter screens are fine mesh screens which you lay over a pan when frying. They absorb about 70% of splatters (if you covered the frying pan with a lid the food would start to sweat instead of fry, and eventually stew). Splatter screens can be purchased from supermarkets.
- 1200g agria (or floury) potatoes, peeled and cubed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 900g skinned and boned chicken breasts
- 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely diced
- 2 sticks celery, sliced
- 2 Tbsp creamy Dijonnaise mustard
- 3 Tbsp plain flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
- 1 Tbsp chopped thyme
- 2 Tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
1 Cook potatoes in gently boiling, salted water until tender. Drain well, return to the saucepan and set pan back over the heat to dry off for 1 minute. Mash with a hand-masher, or pass through amouli-legumes. Beat in a large knob of butter, 1 teaspoon of salt and enough hot milk to make a fluffy puree.
2 Preheat oven to 180°C (fanbake). Rinse chicken breasts under running water and trim off any fat. Pat dry with paper towels then cut into small chunks. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat. When the oil is hot, add half the chicken and brown quickly (use a splatter screen to reduce spitting). Transfer chicken to a side plate and repeat with remaining chicken (add more oil if the pan is dry), transferring it to the plate once browned. Lower the heat, add second tablespoon of oil to the pan with the onion and cook several minutes until starting to colour.
3 Add garlic, carrots, celery and ¼ cup water, put a lid on the pan and cook gently for 10 minutes. Stir in mustard and flour, then stock, and stir until boiling. Cook gently for 5 minutes, stirring off and on, then add herbs and chicken along with any juices. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper.
4 Turn chicken mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish (I use a Pyrex 5 cup pie dish, or use individual dishes, like deep ramekins, although be aware that smaller dishes might call for more potato puree). Top with the potato puree and sprinkle over parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until the topping is lightly browned and the sauce just starting to bubble through (as a precaution I always cook pies like this on a baking sheet to catch any spillages). Serve hottish.