September Recipe: Chicken and Fennel Pie

If you do not want to make your own pastry you could buy either shortcrust or puff. You do not have to use a pie plate either, you can of course use a pie dish and you do not have to line it with pastry, you can just put a pastry lid on your pie. Pies are all the rage now and I think they are lovely in the Autumn / Winter months.

Serves 4
  • 1 Large Bulb Fennel
  • 450/550g/1-11/4lb. chicken breast fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsps. olive oil
  • 2 level tsps. paprika
  • finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 rounded tbsp. tomato puree salt and pepper

For the pastry : –

  • 175g/6oz. plain flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2tsp. salt
  • 50g/2oz fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 3 tsps. dried oregano
  • 50g/2oz mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100g/4oz vegetable suet
  • juice of 1 lemon a little milk for brushing
  1. Cut off the base and stalks of the fennel bulb and, if necessary, remove any marked outer parts. Chop the bulb into small pieces.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts into very small slices crossways. Peel & finely chop the garlic. Put the oil into a large, heavy frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped fennel and the paprika and stir around for 6 – 8 minutes, until the fennel has just softened. Then add the chicken, garlic and lemon rind and stir for another 3 – 4 minutes, until the chicken is opaque right through.
  3. Stir in the tomato puree and season to taste with salt & pepper. Remove from the heat, turn into a bowl and leave to cool.
  4. To make the pastry, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and, using a fork, stir in the breadcrumbs, oregano, grated cheese and suet. Add the lemon juice and enough cold water to form a stiff dough.
  5. When the filling is cold, butter a pie plate 23-25cm/9-10ins. in diameter. Divide the pastry in half, form into 2 balls and roll each one out on a floured board into a circle big enough for the pie plate.
  6. Line the pie plate with one circle and spoon in the chicken filling. Dampen the edges and cover with the other circle. Trim the edges and use the trimmings to decorate the top. Refrigerate the pie until ready to cook.
  7. To cook, preheat the oven to 200C/400F Gas mark 6. Brush the pastry all over with the milk, and bake the pie in the centre of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
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