I’m not completely sure where I first saw this recipe. Rest assured it wasn’t my idea – I’m thinking maybe Martha Stewart or somewhere like that?
Anyhoo, if you’re entertaining on bonfire night, these little beauties are a great talking point. If you don’t fancy chicken, just fill them with your usual minced beef recipe, or even just squeeze sausagemeat out of the casing to fill them.
The teenagers, you’ll be delighted to know, took me to task over my original ‘scary’ description in the title, and said that it should be ‘grumpy’ or maybe ‘ugly’, so ugly it is, but if you want to make smiley ones go for it – they’re your pies, after all.
You will need:
3 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
1 onion, finely chopped
Ham, cut into small chunks
1 tbsp flour
Chicken stock (about 200ml)
Making the filling:
So sauté the onions in a couple of tablespoons of rapeseed oil. Add in the chicken and fry until it’s lightly browned. Bung in the ham, then add in a tablespoon of flour, salt and pepper, and about 200ml chicken stock. Stir well and cook gently for a while, just until the ‘rawness’ of the flour disappears and the sauce looks creamy. Add in some thyme here if you like. It’s my favourite flavour with chicken.
If you want to make your own pastry, rub 200g of cold butter into 400g of plain flour, then add in 3 or 4 tablespoons of cold water until it just comes together. If you’d rather buy it, that’s fine too.
Preheat your oven to gas 4/180 degrees. Roll out your pastry and line a 6 hole yorkshire pudding tin (or individual little pie dishes) with pastry.
You don’t have to blind bake these, but the bottoms will be crisper and they’ll hold together better. Up to you. Scrunch up some squares of greaseproof paper, then smooth out and pop on top of each pastry base – pour in baking beans (I use some old dried haricot beans that I keep especially for blind baking) and bake for about ten minutes. Then remove the beans and give them another 5 minutes.
Making the pies:
Now roll out the rest of the pastry and cut out your scary faces (I cut round a saucer, then used a piping nozzle for the holes). Fill generously with the chicken mixture then top with the pies. A quick pass through the eggy wash department and your ugly faces are ready for the oven.
Bake for about 15/20 minutes until golden. Pair with mini baked potatoes and maybe some roasted butternut squash soup and you’re good to go. Have a great bonfire night. Oh and be careful out there!