One of my favourite winter recipes is chicken and mushroom pie. I give my children pastry to make shapes with to put on top of the pie.
1 small chicken, about 1kg (21/4o z)
1 onion, cut in half
1 large carrot, peeled
1 leek, sliced
1 stick of celery, sliced
A bunch of parsley
25g (1oz) butter
1 tbsp plain flour
150g (51/2oz) baby button mushrooms, halved
300g (101/2oz) puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Place the chicken in a large pot with the onion, carrot, leek, celery and parsley and cover with water. Gently simmer for an hour. Remove the chicken and leave to cool. Discard the vegetables, leaving the stock in the pan and boil for an hour until it’s a third of its original volume.
In another pan, melt the butter, stir in the flour and let it bubble. Strain the stock into the butter and flour and give it a good whisk, add the mushrooms and simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick sauce. Season to taste.
Separate the chicken meat from the bones and cut into bite-sized chunks. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the chicken. Spoon the mixture into a pie dish and brush the rim with the beaten egg. Roll out the pastry, cover the pie, cut to size and press to seal with a fork. Cut the unused pastry into shapes to decorate the pie. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with fried potatoes and buttered carrots.