I have just done a review of Maggie Beer’s cookbook Maggie’s Kitchen, so as a treat I thought I would share with you one of my favorite recipes from this cookbook – Chicken, Grape & Champagne Pies. Now seriously folks, what isn’t there to love here and I can assure you that they taste as delicious as they sound. What is not to like when it includes Champagne!!!
Chicken, Grape & Champagne Pies
40g (1½oz) unsalted butter
extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
3-4 large chicken fillets with skin on, cut into 1.5cm pieces
2 leeks, white parts only, and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup Champagne or sparkling white wine
¼ cup plain flour
1½ cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1½ tablespoons finely chopped French tarragon
1½ tablespoons finely chopped thyme
½ preserved lemon, flesh removed, rind rinsed and finely chopped
2 tablespoons verjuice
freshly ground black pepper
225g seedless green grapes (1 cup picked grapes)
1 quantity Sour-cream pastry (see below)
olive oil spray, for greasing
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
rocket leaves, to serve
250g (9oz) plain flour
200g (7oz) chilled unsalted butter, chopped
120ml (½ cup) sour cream
For the sour-cream pastry, process flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles coarse breadcumbs. With the motor running, gradually add about two-thirds of the sour cream at first, then only add enough of the remaining sour cream to help the pastry just come together to form a ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and bring it together into a rectangle with your hands. Wrap the pastry in plastic film and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Heat the butter in a large frying pan over high heat until nut-brown, then add a splash of olive oil. Season chicken with salt, the sauté in batches until lightly coloured. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add leeks and garlic to the pan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes or until soft. Increase heat to high, then deglaze pan with Champagne or sparkling white wine and cook over medium heat for w minutes or until wine has reduced by half. Sprinkle in flour and whisk in well to combine, the add stock and bring to a simmer. Add chicken, tarragon, thyme and preserved lemon, stirring gently to combine, then cook for 4-5 minutes. Add verjuice and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Season with pepper and add salt if needed. Remove chicken from heat, then add grapes and leave mixture to cool completely.
Grease four 10cm x 7cm pie tins with olive oil spray (or you could use one large pie tin). Roll out pastry until 3mm thick, then cut out four 19cm rounds for the pie bases and four 12 cm rounds for the lids. Line each pie tin with a 19cm round, then divide the cooled chicken filling among the tins. Wet pastry edges with a little water and top with pastry lids. Press pastry edges together to sealm then trim away any excess with a small sharp knife. Pierce a small hole in the centre of each pie top, then brush the pastry with a little beaten egg.
Place pies in the refrigerator to chill the pastry for at least 20 minutes before baking.
Pre-heat fan-forced oven to 200ºC (450ºF/Gas mark 8).
Bake pies for 25-30 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from oven and leave to cool slightly before turning out and serving with rocket leaves to the side.