It’s Roman shield time. Right now, as you read this, mums and dads all over the globe are trying to make Roman shields for their kids’ school projects. There is a global conspiracy; teachers get their own back on all those parents and their horrible children by sending them home with the task of making a Roman shield.
It’s a pain in the arse to make, and what’s more it’s an expensive pain in the arse to make. But wait, I hear you holler at your screens. How does he know all this fascinating information? Is he in on the conspiracy? No. I just went through that pain, and blogged it. And since the beginning of September this year that post has been read 650 times (2,500 times in all).
I even know when the shields are being created – September through November and another peak in April and May. I love the stats on WordPress.
But, as this is supposed to be a food blog, I’d better get down to business. And for me pies mean business. And you can’t call a pie a pie unless it contains a substantial quantity of pastry.
So you need to make a double crust pie. Pies with pastry just on the top are little more than a pot of filling with a bit of a covering. No. No, what that filling needs is a loving blanket of pastry, top and bottom. Wrap that filling, whatever it may be, in pastry loveage.
So I made Double Crust Chicken and Mushroom Pie. You will need:
- 1 pack of shortcrust pastry
- 1 egg
- 2 knobs butter
- 6 chicken thighs, bones and skin removed
- punnet chestnut mushrooms
- handful of bacon lardons
- 8 shallots, peeled and halved
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 glass white wine
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
First dry fry the lardons to release all that bacon fat salty goodness.
I love the sight of bacon cooking so here is another shot, just before I removed the bacon and set aside.
Now add the shallots and a knob of butter and cook for a few minutes.
Now add the chicken and fry for a couple of minutes, turning once.
Add back the bacon. Add the mushrooms, the stock and wine and top off with the herbage. Grind on some salt and pepper.
Cover and leave to simmer for 20 mins. Drain off the liquid into a jug.
Mix two tablespoons of cornflour into the juice and heat up in a pan to thicken.
Meanwhile roll out the pastry so its really thin, about 2 inches bigger all round than the dish you are going to create the pie in.
Cut off the edges of the pastry and place it into the buttered dish.
Trim the edges, and then use the remaining pastry to create the lid. Add the filling and pour over some of the sauce (not too much though).
Wet the rim, add the lid, trim and then press down around the edges to seal. Brush the top with beaten egg and make sure you poke a little hole in the middle to let out steam.
Place in the oven at 180 centigrade for 25 mins to half an hour. Your pie is ready.
Serve with mashed potatoes, greens, etc. Or straight up with mustard, as I did here.
But. What of the pastry base? Did I suffer the ultimate baking nightmare? The soggy bottom? Lets take a look…
No! No I did not. A proper pie for a proper dinner! Just what you need if you spent the day making your child’s school project Roman shield…