BRITISH Pie Week starts on Monday and, to mark the occasion, Country Harvest at Ingleton has agreed to reveal the secrets of its award-winning chicken, ham and leek pie
VISITORS from as far afield as Halifax often make the 100-mile round trip to Country Harvest, near Ingleton, to buy their homemade pies.
The chicken, ham and leek is a particular favourite and the coffee shop and deli sold more than 4,000 slices last year – that's nearly nine slices a day every day of the year!
Mandy Calvert was working in the Country Harvest kitchen when she came up with the recipe. It was shortly after Christmas and she had been at home using up turkey in a pie. “Then I came into work and there was lots of chicken so I made another pie here quite similar to the one I’d done at home and it really took off – it’s one of our bestsellers,” she said.
Mandy says the pie is just the sort of food she likes to eat: good plain food with no processing. “I’m not into fancy food, I like good home cooking and I like to know what’s gone into my food. This pie sums up what I like to eat and cook.”
She says the recipe is foolproof if you follow every step. She says a good tip for doing the egg glaze is to whisk an egg with a pinch of salt and leave for five minutes – the salt breaks down the protein in the egg and makes it smoother to glaze the pie. If you want a smaller pie simply reduce the quantities. For this one a 12-inch pie tin is recommended.
Quarter of a 250g block of butter
Four chicken breasts (cut into strips, not chunks)
1 level dessertspoon vegetable bouillon (stock)
1 level dessertspoon thyme (optional)
200g ham (or leftovers from when ham is sliced)
Half a pint of milk
900g shortcrust pastry
Melt the butter and add the sliced onions and leek with the thyme and chicken in a saucepan.
Cook for about five minutes until soft and the meat lightly browned.
Add the cream and reduce for about five minutes, then add the bouillon.
Make sure the sauce is thick enough to coat the chicken and is not too runny. Add milk if needed (but only if the sauce is too thick). Simmer for 10 minutes. Be careful not to let sauce dry up or catch on the bottom.
Make 900g of shortcrust pastry (using your usual recipe) and line the cake tin. Blind bake at 200c until light brown. Put the filling in the tin and put pastry lid on. Glaze with egg and then cook for about 20 minutes at 200c until golden brown.
Cut into eight portions, although it will serve more.