Chicken and mushroom pie

I’ll start of by admitting this “ I am a pie monster, pie nazi, pie fanatic, etc”, if you want me really motivated, tell me that xyz pie is really good and I will go for it! Which is why I’m constantly disappointed by the pies that we have available to us. Gourmet pies, pies that have won awards, tried all those and for some reason nothing beats the $2.70 pie van that goes around to my sister’s workplace once a fortnight. (sadly that has recently stopped)

Anyway, you get the gist, there is nothing more comforting than having a pie with a hot flaky, buttery crust, oozing with a nice thick, flavoursome pie filling. I used to always have steak pies, then moved to chicken when I got disappointed with the lack of chunks of meat and the taste of artificial beef flavouring. Chicken wasn’t that great either with lumps of starch, bits of chicken that tasted vile and of course we can’t forget to add that artificial chicken flavouring in it!

Most of my kitchen action, especially the ones that are more time consuming are made because I, like many cooks are sick and tired of “professionals” serving up sub-standard fares to paying customers. I don’t mind paying money for eating out, it can be a 3 hat establishment, but serve me up something that does not taste good, is not worth the time and effort that the chef has put in, and I will make sure that I will learn that recipe and never revisit that establishment to eat that dish.

A pie is not something that you frequently see in restaurants, but if something so simple can be gotten wrong, what does that say about the business that serves it up? I have paid for $5 pies, which some will say is expensive, it is, and trust me, it’s not worth it. Heck, I will pay $20 (pie only, not pie as a meal) or even more if the pie is sensational. In any case, a good pie is worth the effort. I’m still perfecting mine, but it is way better than most of the pies that I’ve tasted by “professionals”.

One thing I will say though, I’m dying to try Maggie Beer’s pies after watching her make that pheasant pie on Masterchef last night, and I’m sure that it will be one of the most fantastic things I will ever taste! I’m dreaming of eating  that pie and happily going to pie heaven. I’m starting out by first perfecting my filling, which is what I will write about today, after that I’ll tackle pastry.

Here’s some of the ingredients in my pie, honey and I love chicken breast and you can’t go past wood fired capsicums in a chicken pie, together they add a depth of flavor that is hard to beat! I love shallots, but you can use white onions instead.

You can use cream, but I prefer using a bechamel sauce as I can control the taste and consistency of the chicken and mushroom filling. Bechamel sauce is normally used in lasagne, but treat it like a ‘cream on demand’ substitute.  Flavoring your bechamel sauce adds another depth of flavor and you can choose from bay leaves, cheese or just leave it plain.

Here’s the chicken and mushroom filling simmering away on the stove.

This chicken and mushroom filling reminds me of my childhood like how the food critic in ‘ratatouille’ was transported to his childhood when remmy made the ratatouille dish for him. I could not resist making the pie with a shortcrust pastry base and a puff pastry top. It’s kinda cold in Canberra now, so I’m loving the stews, anything that has heaps of sauce and slurpalicious. Oh, any of you know of any good pies? I am willing to travel!

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