Chicken and butternut pie
– Marietjie Jansen van Rensburg
(SHORTCUT, FRESH, TASTY)
Marietjie and her siblings spent many holidays with their grandparents on their farm in Soekmekaar, Limpopo, where their granny, also Marietjie, spoilt them with biscuits, koeksisters and ham and cheese sandwiches. But for her there was no bigger treat than her granny’s pie made with chicken or game. “As poor students at Stellenbosch my sister and I yearned for that pie, but it was beyond our budget. Butternut was the solution to make it more affordable,” she explains.
SERVES 4 Preparation time: 20-25 min Cooking time: 30 min Baking time: 15 min
400 g chicken breast fillets OR 2 large chicken breasts, skin and bone removed salt and black pepper 5 ml (1 t) mild curry powder 5 ml (1 t) chicken spice mix
500 g butternut cubes (about 1 large butternut) 2 ml (½ t) ground cinnamon oil or butter for frying 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 250 ml (1 c) cream (optional) 1 roll (200 g) frozen puff pastry, defrosted 1 egg yolk for brushing the pastry salad to serve
Preheat the oven to 190 °C. Grease an ovenproof dish of about 30 x 30 cm. 1 Cut the chicken into smallish cubes and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle curry powder and chicken spice mix over. 2 Transfer the chicken to a lidded plastic container and stir to coat the cubes completely with the spices. Cover with the lid and put in the fridge. 3 Cook the butternut in a pot with a little water until just soft, about 15 minutes. Season with cinnamon.
4 Heat a little oil or butter in a pan and fry the onion and garlic until soft and glossy. 5 Add the chicken and fry for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is almost done. Remove the pan from the heat. 6 When the butternut is cooked, transfer a ladleful of the cooking water to the pan of chicken and drain the rest of the water. 7 Add the chicken and onion mixture to the butternut in the pot and mix without crushing the butternut. Add the cream (if using). 8 Cut the pastry into 2 equal pieces. Roll both out thin enough to cover the base of the ovenproof dish. Put 1 piece in the bottom of the dish. Spoon the chicken and butternut mixture on top and spread out evenly. 9 Cut the remaining pastry into 2 cm wide strips and lay over the filling to make a lattice-style top (see picture above). Brush with egg yolk. 10 Bake for 15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden brown. 11 Serve with a salad.