Chicken and mushroom en croute

In goes the sun, out comes the pastry. As a follow up to last week’s beef and Guinness pie, I thought I’d share my recipe for a tasty chicken and mushroom en croute.

Yes, it is a pie, and yes, ‘en croute’ sounds pretentious, but it’s specific to the way it’s cooked – total pastry surround and freestanding (ie not in a tin).

Perfect with some mashed potato and peas, this simple carby dinner will cure what ails ya (…that makes more sense to me as I currently have the sniffles).

Serves 2

150g mushrooms, finely chopped
3 chicken breasts, cubed (2cm)
2 handfuls of spinach
20g salted butter
20g plain flour
200ml milk (plus a splash for brushing)
A quarter of a teaspoon English mustard
500g puff pastry 

  1. Fry the mushrooms over a high heat until well cooked – you want to remove as mush moisture as possible. Once browned, leave aside in a receptacle of your choice
  2. Brown off the chicken in the same frying pan with a little oil for around 6 minutes. Then add the spinach to wilt. Continue to cook until the moisture has evaporated, then leave to one side
  3. To make the sauce, melt the butter before adding the flour. Quickly stir to make a roux before taking off the heat
  4. Add a splash of milk and mix into the roux before adding the next splash and mixing that in. Repeat until all the milk has been used up
  5. Add seasoning and the mustard before returning to a medium heat. Heat up, stirring continuously, until it’s thickened
  6. Drain the mushrooms before adding these and the chicken to the sauce. Leave to cool slightly for around 30 minutes
  7. Roll out the puff pastry into a large square before cutting in half into two rectangles
  8. Place these rectangles on a non-stick baking tray with a lip. Make sure each rectangle is half on the tin and the other half is hanging over the edge. The lip will act as a vertical block (makes more sense in the next step)
  9. Using the lip as a vertical block, spoon half the chicken mix into each rectangle, covering the half that’s sitting on the tray
  10. Grab the overhanging half and fold over the mix and enclose. Seal the three edges (the fourth being the fold lying up against the lip) and brush the top with milk before making a slice or two to let the steam escape. Place in the middle of a preheated oven at 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6
  11. After 20-25 mins, remove from the oven and serve.

Top tips

  • The filling needs to have as mush moisture removed as possible – the spinach and mushrooms can’t have any residual water to wet up the pastry
  • Make sure to let the mix cool slightly before adding to the pastry – steam and raw pastry do not mix
  • When placing the mix on each pie, make sure the bottom half (of each half) is slightly smaller. This means the top half will be slightly bigger, ensuring it folds over nicely over the heap of mixture 

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