Introduction: Deep Layered Chicken Pie

This is a family favourite. It has a real taste of Christmas and winter and is delicious served hot or cold.

This is what you'll need to make a 10 or 12 serving pie:

450g plain flour
200 salted butter
500g chicken breasts
1kg sausage meat
grated zest of 1 lemon
200g fresh breadcrumbs
150g chopped dried apricots
100g chopped chestnuts
200g dried cranberries
1 finely chopped onion
1 beaten egg yolk
a little olive oil and butter for frying.

Step 1: Start by Making Your Short Crust Pastry.

I use 450g of plain flour, 200 of butter and 6 or seven tablespoons of cold water, but I believe pastry is a very personal thing so use your favourite short crust recipe.

For those who have never made pastry before, the secret is to work it as little as possible to avoid shrinkage.
Pulse the butter and flour in a mixer to achieve a breadcrumb like consistency. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and add the water slowly spoon by spoon until the dough forms.

Wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge whilst you get on with the filling.

Step 2: Prepare Your Stuffing and Chicken

I'm afraid I forgot to take a picture of this step but don't worry, it's very basic.
Take 1kg of sausage meat, and add 200 of fresh breadcrumbs, 150g chopped dried apricots, 100g chopped chestnuts, 200 dried cranberries the grated zest of one lemon and an onion finely chopped and fried.
Add salt and black pepper and get your hands in a give it a good mix.
Take four chicken breasts, cut them into strips and brown in a pan with butter and oil.
(I use the same pan I used for the onion)

Step 3: Roll Out Your Pastry and Start Your Layers.

Roll out 2/3 of the pastry to line your pie tin.

(I use a 25cm diameter tin which I line with parchment paper first. Don't trim off the excess parchment paper as you'll need it to lift out the pie later)

Put half of your stuffing at the bottom, then place all the browned chicken strips before covering once again withe the second half of the stuffing.

Step 4: Roll Out the Cover and Decorate

Dampen the edge of the filled pie and cover with the top sheet. Pinch the edge all the way round before cutting off the excess pastry.

Make a small cut in the middle and insert a "chimney" (a piece of parchment paper rolled round a wooden spoon). Fix it in place with a little pastry.

Finally ask the most artistic of your children to decorate the top.

Brush egg yolk over the top and pop it in the oven 190°C for 50 minutes.

Step 5: It Smells Good. It Must Be Nearly Ready.

Take the pie out if the oven and let stand for about 15 minutes (if you want to eat it hot) before removing from the pie tin.

Lift it out with the help of the parchment paper before trimming off the extra paper.

Step 6: Cut, Serve and Eat!

It's great with just a green salad, or cold with coleslaw.

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