I served Dan’s Chicken and Mushroom Pie for my 32nd wedding anniversary dinner. Now that’s a testament to how confident I am about the recipes in “Short and Sweet”. It never lets me down; never disappoints, even on an occasion like a wedding anniversary. Husband declared it delicious.
Both recipes are easy to do. All of the ingredients are readily available at your village corner shop or a supermarket. Instructions are clear, although I’ve make a few brief personal notes in my book.
1. Slightly over-fill, as in slightly rounded, each casserole dish. If you don’t, the pastry will sink when it’s baked. If you fill it to the point where there’s a soft bulge of chicken-mushroom mixture, the pastry stays put, resting on top of the mixture, and it will look perfect.
2. I bought condensed mushroom soup, and found that the liquid (wine) quantity in the recipe was ample to thin the soup. The mushrooms also released a bit more liquid, which helped. No further flour or thickening agent was required to achieve a richly textured sauce that easily clung to the chicken and mushroom pieces. No running; no dripping; no sogginess.
3. Dan mentioned to me on Twitter that seasoning was important so the sauce holds its own with the subtle flavours of the chicken and mushrooms. Okay, he said that in far fewer words, being that Twitter won’t let you get all wordy. Dan also warned about the thickness of the pastry when rolling it out, so I was very attentive to that. I measured it with a 1£ coin and a 20p coin stacked one on the other, which measures nearly ½ cm. It’s easy to feel if the pastry is level in height with the coins. I find this easier to do than using a ruler.
4. I also bought a rolling pin that’s a cylindrical, sanded bit of hardwood, which everyone seems to use who’s doing these challenges. I noticed that Dan used one in a photo, too. It’s a pity that my fireplace is gas because I’d chuck the darned thing on the flames to give it a useful purpose in life. I’ll stick with my ancient ball-bearing “Foley” pin in the future.
First I sautéed the mushrooms, and set them aside.
Then I fried up the diced onion, and when it was translucent I added the minced garlic (contrary to instructions) because I didn’t want the garlic browning or scorching. I think it turns bitter when it browns.
Another alteration to the recipe was adding white wine rather than red. I wanted to serve a glass of it with our meal, and I didn’t think a glass of red would compliment the flavours of the chicken or mushrooms. I also added a dollop of half-fat crème fraîche after mixing in the cream of mushroom soup, as I wanted a very creamy texture and flavour. I simmered all that together as instructed, encountering no problems. Seasonings were perfect just as written.
I filled up two small casserole dishes. One I filled slightly over-loaded, and the other was filled exactly level to the top. The over-loaded one turned out better (visually) because the filling sinks just slightly during baking, which caused the level one to have a concave pastry.
It did however still bake just fine and it was light, crisp and crunchy – it just wasn’t as pretty. The over-filled one turned out perfectly. I gave that one to my husband. What I do for love …
The “Light Cream Cheese Pastry” was unbelievably easy to do in the food processor.
Just follow the instructions step by step, and you’ll have perfect pastry, and remember let it relax 10-minutes in the fridge. I froze the remaining 3 pastry tops for use in the future.
I trimmed the edges along the lip of the casserole dish to make it look neat and tidy. It baked in the oven for 30-minutes, which was perfect timing for the pastry. The filling was steamy hot.
Both recipes are well worth including in my ‘repertoire’ of Favourite Recipes. To get your copy of “Short and Sweet”, just visit Amazon UK.