Chicken, leek and hazelnut pie

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This recipe comes from the April 1995 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.  As usual, there are some deviations from the original …

Chicken, leek and hazelnut pie

This is reasonably quick to put together and you can always make the filling in advance, ready to bake when required.  Because we’re fatties we opted for a shortcrust pastry base and a flaky pastry top, but really only the top is essential.  Use your favourite bought or home made pastry:  the recipe suggests shortcrust, cream cheese or flaky, which I think is rather hedging one’s bets!

The quantity we made fed four easily for dinner with left overs good enough for lunch or supper for 2 people (or just 1 if the 1 is very greedy or hungry).

The recipe is very rich in butter and creams so if you prefer substitute a light olive oil for the butter.

Begin by heating 50g of unsalted butter in a pan and brown 7 chicken thigh fillets, cut into generous chunks.  Brown the chicken in batches and drain on kitchen towel.

When the chicken is cooked, gently stew 2 finely slicked leeks until translucent.  Turn down the heat so they don’t take on any colour.  Set the leeks aside.

Melt another 50g of butter in the pan and add 1 tablespoon of plain flour, allowing it to cook out for at least 2 minutes.  Again – keep the heat low so your butter and flour mixture doesn’t take on any colour.

Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock.  Return the pan to the heat and bring the mix to the boil, stirring constantly.  Simmer for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat.

In a large bowl, mix the chicken, the leeks and 50g of toasted and coarsely chopped hazelnuts.  Mix through the sauce and follow with two tablespoons of sour cream.  When everything is combined, taste the mix and season as you see fit.  Allow to cool.

If using a pastry bottom, grease your pie dish and line with pastry.  Add the chicken mixture and top with a pastry lid.  Cut a hole for steam and brush with an egg wash.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200C for 10 minutes before turning down to 180C.  If you have no pastry bottom you will probably only need to bake for another 15 minutes or so.  With the pastry base with opted for another half an hour.

The ideal wine match for a dish like this would be a Chardonnay, with a hint of oak.  If your wallet can afford it, a white Burgundy (such as a Chablis or, more affordably, a Mâcon) would be an excellent match. If you’re a bit of an ABC* try matching a Chenin Blanc or even a lighter red, such as a Pinot Noir.

* Anything But Chardonnay

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