Ever since starting Adventure bootcamp last Monday, I have been sitting with a bit of a problem. How does bootcamp and baking go together? Baking is my way of relaxing but what’s the point if I cannot indulge? I love scouring the Interwebs for recipes and my Pinterest profile http://pinterest.com/rumtumtiggs/ attests to the fact that I have a long list of recipes I am just dying to try out. Since I’m still “allowed” to eat, the obvious choice would be to blog more food recipes but when it comes to cooking, I’m instinctive. I cook from the heart and never put down on paper what I put in the pot.

I had recently had a craving for Chicken Pie and I found this one that Nina Timm had posted, http://www.my-easy-cooking.com/2012/04/my-easy-chicken-pot-pies-to-celebrate.html. Since it required the use of both pastry and sour cream, I thought it may be the ideal recipe to try and make healthier. The recipe was also quite big so it needed to be trimmed down so my family and I wouldn’t be eating this pie for weeks. I have no idea how much you need a alter a recipe before you can call it your own so I would call this, Nina Timm’s Chicken Pie with a few tweaks.

Chicken Pie makes 1 Chicken and Mushroom Plait and 1 medium sized pie (serves 6)

Ingredients

3 large chicken breasts (+-1kg) – I buy with skin and bone

1 large onion – roughly chopped

4 cloves

4 sprigs of thyme or 2 t dry thyme

salt/pepper

juice of 1 lemon olive oil

1 x 250 ml low fat Bulgarian yogurt

1 bunch of leeks

1 x 250g punnet button mushrooms, sliced

1 x yellow pepper, sliced

2 T butter

1 t smoked paprika ( optional)

2 heaped T Ina Paarman Roast Onion Soup/Gravy Powder a little boiling water or pan juices if needed about ½ cup

2 rolls of puff pastry – 1 for the plait (or bottom of pie) and 1 to top the pot pie

Method Preheat oven to 180C. Place the chopped onion in the bottom of a roasting pan. Clean and wipe chicken breasts with paper towel and place on top of the onions. Drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the chicken and place uncovered in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the juices run clear when a knife is inserted in the thickest part of the breast. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and use two forks and remove all bones from the chicken. Keep for stock. NB. If you have issues with chicken skin, remove, but if your chicken is cooked properly and the skin is nice and crispy, cut it into smaller pieces and add to the chicken. It imparts a lovely flavor to your chicken pie.

Clean and chop the leeks, I use the white parts and about halfway up the green part. Heat a pot on the stove and add the butter and smoked paprika. Once the butter has melted, add the leeks, mushrooms and pepper and saute until soft and buttery. Add the chopped up chicken and the water or pan juices just to get the chicken going. Add the yogurt and mix the soup powder with a little cold water and stir it into the chicken. The sauce should now be creamy and delicious, but not too runny. Taste and adjust accordingly. Cool the filling completely. (I didn’t have time to allow the filling to cool as I had a hungry family practically camped out in the kitchen due to the delicious smells filling the house).

When the filling is cold, roll out the pastry and make pies in whatever size you wish. One tip though, when lining your baking dish with pastry, brush the pastry with egg wash, it makes almost a barrier between filling and pastry and prevents soggy pastry.

To make the plait, I rolled out one sheet of puff pastry and positioned it on a tray with the long sides of the rectangle to my left and right (short sides on top and bottom). I made 1cm wide slices into the pastry at a slight diagonal leaving an untouched patch in the middle for where the filling would go. I brushed the pastry all over with egg wash before adding the filling into the center of the pastry (a long strip of filling going all the way down the center leaving about a 3cm edge on the top and bottom. I folded these edges up towards the filling and started plating the strips, starting with one side and alternating until it was done. I baked the chicken and mushroom plait for about 30 minutes and then did the second pie while we were eating.

When I assembled the 2nd pie, I simply put the filling back into the dish I had roasted the meat in and added a pastry lid. This was also egg washed and put in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown.

On the note of “healthier”, yes I know I only exchanged the sour cream for yogurt and I still kept the pastry but I found that adding the veggies not only made the filling go further, it also made the pie much more filling which means I could get by with just one piece. The rest of the family enjoyed it so much that they nearly finished it though and I had to hide a piece away for myself for Sunday lunch 😉

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