In the Longford kitchen display at our showroom in Felsted, Essex, we have a rather lovely 3 oven white dual control AGA installed which we have all quietly fallen in love with. This silent behemoth heats the whole showroom which means that it’s the perfect temperature when clients come in for design meetings. There is also the added benefit that you can utilise its primary function – which is of course cooking.
Last Friday I made some chicken and bacon pies for everyone in the design studio, office and workshop using the AGA. As they went down such a treat, I’ve posted the recipe below in case you’d like to try it too…
- 120g of plain flour
- 1 pinch of salt
- 30g of butter, chilled
- 30g of lard
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 small pre-roasted chicken or 3-4 poached chicken breasts
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 200g bacon lardons or thick cut streaky bacon
- 50g of butter
- 2 tbsp of plain flour, plus more for dusting
- 300ml of milk
- 200ml of chicken stock
- 2 tbsp of chives, chopped
3 tbsp of thyme, chopped
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- salt and pepper to season
- For the shortcrust pastry, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Chop up the butter and lard in small dice and then rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it looks like breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you could use a kitchen mixer. Use a little of the beaten egg to bring the mixture together into a firm dough and then lightly knead it. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
- If you’re not using an AGA, at this point you should preheat your oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.
- In a large heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter without colouring it. Use the simmering plate on the AGA or a medium low heat on a normal cooker.
- Add the onions and garlic and sweat until almost translucent. Next add the flour and using a small wooden spoon, stir the mixture firmly to create a smooth paste.
- Next add the milk – just a little at a time and stir quite vigorously, then continue to add a small amount each time until you’ve used up the milk. Once the milk is incorporated, start to add the chicken stock. For a really creamy sauce, use only 100ml stock and add 100ml single cream.
- Once you’ve added all the liquid, let the sauce cook for 5 minutes, whisking from time to time on a low heat. While that’s happening, taste and season with salt, freshly milled black pepper and a grating of nutmeg if you wish.
- In a separate pan, fry off the bacon lardons until the fat has mostly rendered down.
- Next add the cooked chicken to the white sauce together with the bacon lardons. For the best flavour, roast a small chicken stuffed with aromatics like herbs, garlic and lemon.
- You can now add the chives and thyme to the filling as well, together with any other herbs like parsley that you may wish to add.
- Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out to the size of your pie dish. Ideally you want the pastry to be the thickness of a pound coin.
- Pour the filling into the dish and cover with the pastry. Pinch the edges neatly together and then trim around the edges with a pair of scissors or a sharp knife. You can decorate your pie with any letters or shapes you choose – naturally we chose HM!
- Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and make a few tiny slits to let the steam escape. Then you can place in the top oven for 25-30 minutes, or in your pre-heated oven for roughly the same time period.
And then, enjoy!