Tipsy chicken pie
1 kg free range chicken thighs
500 mls chicken stock
300 mls Gasping Goose cider
half an onion
salt and black pepper
for the sauce:
4 tbsp plain flour
chicken poaching liquid made up to 550 mls
50g blue cheese (pick some up at Moustrap if you're visiting the cidery in Leominster)
225g button mushrooms, halved
handful of fresh tarragon
500g puff pastry (but you will not use all of this)
1 egg beaten
Heat oven to 180c, 350f, gas mark 4
Remove skin from chicken thighs and place in a large saucepan with the celery, carrot and onion. Top with stock, cider and seasoning. Cover with a lid and poach gently until very tender. Remove chicken from the saucepan and strain the liquid, removing the vegetables. This poaching liquid will be the stock for making the sauce. If you have more than 550 mls of liquid reduce it down by boiling a little, if you have less than 550 mls add water to the stock. Remove chicken from the bones, breaking/cutting it into nice bite-size chunks.
To make the sauce melt butter, add flour and stir for a minute until a sandy texture appears. Add the stock and stir briskly until thickened. Add the halved mushrooms, tarragon and blue cheese. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Add the chicken to the thickened sauce and pile into a 10" round pie dish (but any shape as long as the filling comes up to a decent level), popping a pie funnel in the centre.
Roll out the pastry thinly. Cut strips and stick these around the edge of the pie dish, dampen the strips and place the pastry over the top, trim carefully around the edge and decorate if you wish with pastry leaves. Cut a slit in the centre of pie to allow steam to escape. Bake in a pre-heated over until brown (around 30 minutes depending on your oven).
Serve with seasonal greens and new potatoes.