Thursday, 28 December 2006

Christmas leftovers

Connor gave me a lovely cook book for Christmas, called Cafe Collection by Julie le Clerc. I'm loving the cafes in NZ. The food served is far more than your bog standard ham sarnie and a latte. I have to say MacMan isn't so keen - and would probably prefer the ham sarnie. So I'm thinking this book was maybe an attempt by MacMan to reduce my cafe visits?!

Whatever the reason behind the choosing of the book, it has some really lovely looking recipes in, reflecting the multi-cultural NZ palette. This is the first dish I've cooked from it. The actual recipe is called Chicken and Broccoli pie, but I added cooked ham to my pie filling as I wanted use up Nigella's ham from Christmas eve. The pie sounded really good in the book, and the ham was way too delicious to be shoved in a sandwich! I think this recipe would be great for any Christmas meat leftovers - cooked turkey, ham etc.

Chicken and Broccoli Pie
Serves 8-10

Paprika Pastry
3 cups flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp paprika (I used a full tsp - I'd bought it specially so wasn't going to faff around with half measures!)
250g butter, cubed

5 chicken breasts (I actually used 3, as also using the leftover Nigella ham).
400g head of broccoli
125g butter
3 crushed cloves garlic
5 tbsp flour
2½ cups stock
¼ cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

  • To make pastry , pulse flour, salt and paprika in a food processor to mix. Then add butter and whizz until you get 'breadcrumbs', then add sour cream to form a dough. I found the mixture was too sticky to knead, so added probably another half cup of flour to get a good dough mixture.
  • Chill for 20 minutes
  • If using raw meat as the recipe suggests, poach in a saucepan for 15 mins in simmering water. Strain, and reserve cooking water for stock. Cool chicken and slice.
  • Cut broccoli into florets, and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and plunge in cold water to cool. Drain.
  • Melt butter in a pan. Add garlic and flour, and mix to smooth paste. Add stock, stirring all the time, until sauce is thickened. Add cream, and season to taste. Cool.
  • Roll 2/3 pastry to 3mm thick. Line a 24cm loose bottomed pie tin. (I use a ceramic pie dish, so blind cooked the base pastry first to ensure it cooked).
  • Mix chicken and broccoli (and ham!) into sauce, and pack into pastry case. Roll out remaining pastry to cover. Crimp edges to bind.
  • Chill for 20 mins, then bake in a preheated 190C oven for 45 mins until pastry crisp and golden brown. As the recipe recommends the pie is chilled before cooking, it could of course be prepared earlier in the day, or even the night before, before it is baked.

The pie was really delicious. I don't make pastry too often - as I'm not that great at it! And I probably would have used ready made pastry this time if I'd had any in the freezer. But it was well worth the faff of making this one by scratch. The unusual additions of paprika and sour cream made a really delicious pastry. This will definitely be repeated again.

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