THIS HEARTY FAMILY FAVOURITE EVOKES TREASURED MEMORIES FOR CHEF ALASTAIR MCLEOD
By the age of eight, I could pull a pretty good pint of Guinness. A large slice of my childhood was spent at my dad’s pub, The Travellers Rest, in Derriaghy. My job was to sort the empty bottles into crates and my wage was lunch in the lounge bar — battered cod and chips, a ploughman’s lunch or a flaky chicken pie with vinegary marrowfat peas.
CHICKEN AND LEEK PIE
Serves: 5 INGREDIENTS
275ml white wine 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 3mm angled slices 1 bay leaf A few sprigs of thyme Sea salt and pepper Breasts and legs from a 1kg chicken, removed from carcass 2 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthways and cut into 1cm pieces 225g puff pastry Flour for dusting 1 egg, beaten 1 tbsp grated parmesan CHEESE SAUCE: 275ml milk 20g flour 20g butter Pinch Aleppo pepper 25g cheddar 10g parmesan Sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 200C. Pour white wine into a medium pot, along with the carrots, bay and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer then cover and cook gently for five minutes. Add the chicken pieces and leeks to the pot and cook for a further 10 mins. Next, drain the chicken and vegetables, reserving the liquid. Pour liquid back into the pan, bring it to the boil and reduce to about 2 tbsp. Remove skin from chicken pieces, remove thigh and leg bones and cut all meat into bite-sized pieces. Stir the cheese sauce into the white wine, simmer, and stir in chicken, carrots and leeks. Pour into pie vessels. Cut a 12cm puff pastry round and a 1cm strip that will fit around edge of individual pie dishes. Moisten the edge of the dish with water and press the strip of pastry around the rim. Dampen the strip and carefully lift the pastry lid over the top, pressing firmly to seal. Brush pastry with beaten egg, sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 20 minutes. For the cheese sauce: Place milk, flour, butter and pepper into a medium saucepan and place over a gentle heat. Whisk gently until they simmer, then whisk continually for 5 mins. Add cheeses and whisk again until melted. Season to taste.