I've told you all about the most pleasant and best value-for-money meal I've had in London so far... Gordon Ramsay @ the Claridges Hotel is an institution in London and rightly so. I also never fail to sing the praises for Ramsay's "Secrets", one of the best cook books I've ever bought (and believe me, there are many!). Amongst "Haute Cuisine" there are a fair number of traditional British dishes... a few years ago I'd never have thought that I'd once stoop that low (back then British cooking ranked very low on my list of desirable cuisines, and I guess it still does in a way), but Gordon Ramsay even makes the traditional British thoroughly delectable!
So this is a recipe for a pie - very traditional here. I am pretty sure most pubs (and the home cook) use it as a clever way to use up all left-overs they've got in the kitchen. Ramsay embraces all that is good about it - bold flavours, very down-to-earth cooking: bacon, mushrooms, cream - comfort food doesn't get any better. He cooks the pastry separately, though, and uses puff pastry instead of shortcrust... the result being a a very hearty stew of chicken fillet and vegetables, topped with some crispy pastry rounds - seconds, anyone? Yessir!!!
Wine suggestion: 2001 Chassagne-Montrachet, 1er Cru Clos des Murées, Domaine Fontaigne-Gagnard
Claridges chicken pie*
4 chicken breasts (ca. 600 g, cut in 3 cm dice)
375 g ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg (beaten)
200 g shallots (peeled)
500 ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
200 g speck (lean tenderloin bacon)
1 tbsp oil
150 g button mushrooms
125 ml sherry
200 ml double cream
parsley, to decorate
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Cut the pastry into any shapes you like, either rounds (ca. 10 cm) or triangular wedges. Lay on a non-stick baking tray, score lightly with a blunt knife, brush with the egg and bake for 10 - 12 minutes until golden brown.
Bring the chicken stock to the boil, add the thyme sprigs, then put in the peeled shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Lift the shallots and set aside. Add the chicken to the stock and cook for 5 minutes. Leave to stand for another 2 minutes, then strain & reserve the stock, throwing the herbs out.
Cut the speck into 5 mm strips and clean the mushrooms carefully.
Fry the speck in the oil in a non-stick pan until browning, drain on some kitchen towel and leave to cool and crisp. Add the mushrooms, fry for about 7 minutes, season with salt and pepper and reserve. Deglaze the pan with the sherry, reduce by half, then add the shallots, stock and cream. Reduce by a third, then add the mushrooms and chicken. Cook until the chicken has warmed through, then scatter with parsley and bacon, scoop onto plates, top with some pastry shapes and serve immediately.
We had a fantastic 2001 Chassagne-Montrachet, 1er Cru Clos des Murées, Domaine Fontaigne-Gagnard - a match from heaven!
*Recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay "Secrets"