Friday, 16 January 2015

Something Savoury: Chicken and Ham Pie (Wheat Free)

Ladies and gentlemen, time for something a little different: chicken and ham pie!

I know I'm not in the habit of sharing my savouries and meals, because I eat fairly simply. I eat a lot of gentle cooked meat and rice with vegetables, spiced up a bit with marinades, but I rarely make baked savoury things like pies or pasties. However, after about 5 days of detoxing, all I wanted was something nice, rich and hearty to sink my teeth into.

This was literally made up off the top of my head, and was utterly delicious, and cooked in one pot (baked in a dish, but the filling was a one-pot wonder). If you want to make it more like a stew, you can half the cornflour and add about 4 fluid ounces (120 millilitres) of chicken stock, and steam some suet dumplings on top, or - for my American readers - eat it over a biscuit.

The amount written for the pastry makes a lid only. If you want an entire pastry shell, base and lid, times the quantities by three.

For filling:
  • 2½ ounces (65 grammes) pancetta or smokey bacon, chopped into small pieces
  • ½ large white onion, chopped finely
  • ½ stalk of celery, chopped finely
  • 1 large chicken breast (about 5 ounces/140 grammes), chopped into bite-size chunks
  • 6 fluid ounces (180 millilitres) milk
  • 1 tablespoon (15 millilitres) cornflour
  • Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon, approx., chopped fresh parsely

For topping:
  • 2 ounces (55 grammes) white spelt flour
  • 1 ounce (30 grammes) fine cornmeal, or cornflour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons hot water


  • Heat a frying pan without oil and dry fry the pancetta until it begins to sweat and render out its fat. 
  • Add the onion and celery, along with a generous pinch of salt, and fry until the onion starts to soften. Reduce the heat and cover for about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have become soft and tender. 
  • Add the chicken and stir fry until the chicken has been seared on the outside. Add the milk and bring to a gently simmer; simmer for about 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked. 
  • Mix the cornflour with about 2 tbsps of water to make a slurry. Add to the chicken mixture and stir continuously until it comes to the boil and thickens slightly. 
  • Taste for seasoning: I like to add a little extra salt, a good crack of black pepper, and a little sprinkle of cayenne pepper. 
  • Pour the mixture into a small casserole dish and allow to cool while you prepare the pastry. Preheat the oven to 220*C (450*F, Gas Mk 7). 
  • To make the pastry, mix the flour and cornmeal together with a pinch of salt. Mix in the oil and water and mix to make a soft dough; add more water if necessary. 
  • Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic (about 3 to 5 minutes) then allow to stand and relax for about 10 minutes. 
  • Flour the work surface and roll out the dough into the right size and shape for the top of the casserole dish. Place the pastry on top of the filling and slash twice in the middle. 
  • Bake the hot pot until the pastry is golden brown and crisp. There may be a little sauce escaping from the sides, but that's fine. Remove from the oven and serve hot with salad greens or lightly steamed vegetables.

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