Has anyone ever been to Pie Face? The pie shop? Last year I finally managed to get to one after driving or walking past them in Melbourne for what seemed like the longest time. Shelves of goldeness and pie-warming lights would appear in shopping centre’s or holes-in-the-wall in busy city streets. How could I not plan and imagine-in-detail that first bite? Sadly the real-life tasting didn’t live up to the imaginary one. It’s not that the pies weren’t good but in all honesty, I felt like I’d tasted better. And though I didn’t like my Mum saying this when I was growing up… the pies you bake in your own oven taste much better. I wasn’t a fan of home-cooked food as a youngster. Not that the food wasn’t good, my late Mum cooked mainly Eastern European peasant fare…chicken and potato based soups, veal stews, crunchy crumbed and fried meat, homemade yeast doughnuts and crepe’s etc. It was good food! But I think my love for exploring other tables and kitchens started way before I had a driver’s licence. I had a sense of being trapped and maybe forced to like things.. when, let’s face it.. my wide-palate was probably bored more than anything. A lot of meals were on rotation as is the case with most families today. I do it myself. But I also try a lot more new things as a grown-up (probably a luxury my Mum couldn’t indulge in too often with three kids)… so it keeps things exciting and interesting. This week’s recipe is rooted in comfort and it goes without saying.. it ticks the comfort food box. As the days get cooler here and I try and eat something raw everyday *read: salad*, it’s nice to include something ‘carby’ and warm. And who doesn’t love a pie?
-Cooking Oil x 1tbspn
-Leek x 1 sliced thinly
-Fennel x 1 medium bulb thinly sliced
-Mushrooms x 1 250grams thinly sliced
-Plain Flour x 1.5tbspns
-Chicken Stock x 1 cup (250ml) made using stock cubes (I use Massells powdered stock)
-Evaporated skim milk x 1 cup
-Skinless Chicken Thigh fillets x 300-400gm steamed and shredded
-Baby spinach leaves x 200gm torn
-Soy Sauce (A couple of splashes)
-Egg x 1, beaten (to brush pastry at the end)
-Frozen reduced-fat puff pastry 1 sheet, thawed
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Heat oil in a pan, add leek and fennel and cook stirring for 3 minutes.. or until softened. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring for two minutes or until softened.
2. Add flour to pan, cook stirring for 1 minute. Add stock and milk. Cook stirring continuously for 2 minutes until boiling. Add the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes or until the mixture has reduced and thickened. Stir in the spinach and soy sauce. Spoon into 4 x 1.5cup capacity ovenproof dishes. I also have ovenproof teacups, use these if you have them.
3. Cut pastry into quarters. Lay a piece of pastry over each dish and brush with beaten egg. Trim excess pastry (if you like) and discard. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a salad and/or baked potato.