Chicken, Bacon and Mushroom Pies

It’s cold and wet in Cape Town so pies. Is there really any better meal than fresh and crispy just-out-of-the-oven homemade pies on a chilly winter’s day? I’ve been making this recipe for about five years and it’s a keeper. I use individual pie dishes as opposed to one large dish and I get four individual pies with a little bit left over, which I stuff into the remaining pastry and bake for The Husband’s lunch.

The aromatic flavour of thyme coupled with the buttery chicken is a win-win. When you add these ingredients together, the creamy aroma will not go unnoticed and the bacon and mushrooms finish the dish off perfectly. It’s a filling dish that will leave you satisfied and warm!

Servings: 4     Prep time: 20 minutes     Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes

Chicken bacon mushroom pies ingredients200g streaky bacon, sliced
500g chicken, cut into inch-size pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
400g chopped white mushrooms
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
400g ready rolled puff pastry
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs for painting the pastry

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 2 (2)In a large pan on medium heat, fry the bacon, mushrooms and garlic until the mushrooms have browned, about 5 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 2.5In a bowl, sprinkle the paprika and thyme into the flour and coat the cut chicken thoroughly.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 3 (2)Melt the butter in a large pot and add the contents of the bowl. Fry on medium heat until the chicken changes colour, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken and stir frequently to prevent it from sticking.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 5 (2)Add the bacon and mushrooms to the chicken, pour in the stock and extra water and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 4While the food is simmering, preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Roll the puff pastry out on the counter, sprinkling some flour underneath to prevent it from sticking. Measure your pie dishes by placing them on the pastry and outlining them. Cut out the four pieces and stretch them, if necessary, covering the sides.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 6 (2)Fill the pie dishes ⅔ full and cover the top with pastry, extending it over the sides. You may need to use a little bit of water to stick the sides down onto the dish.

 

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 7 (3)Beat 2 egg yolks and paint over the pastry. Bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the pies are golden brown on top. Let them stand for about 5 to 10 minutes as they will be very hot inside.

I was not trying to be romantic with the candles – we had a power failure just as the pies came out of the oven!

 

 

 

Chicken bacon mushroom pies 8 (2)

 

Oxtail Stew

The Husband and I were cruising the butchery section at our local supermarket when his eyes lit up and he made a run for the section behind me. “Pleeeeease may we have oxtail?”. Let me be honest – I don’t cook a lot of oxtail, and The Husband recently bought a box of gazillion marshmallow and chocolate-covered Easter eggs which he hid away from me (for obvious reasons) No seriously, I jest not. A happy compromise – oxtail for Easter eggs. The thing is, I absolutely love this stew! It’s packed with flavour, fresh herbs, a delicious variety of veggies and it has wine. This is a wonderful excuse to open a bottle of red, just remember to keep some for the stew. A rich stew popular in South Africa, this is the perfect meal to serve on a chilly day. It’s packed with flavour, does not disappoint and will you leave you with a wonderfully satisfied tummy!

Oxtail used to only come from the tail of an ox, but it now comes from the tail of a cow of either gender (uh… gender equality?). It is a bony, fatty piece of meat with marrow in the centre. This makes it ideal for slow-cooked stews so here it is! Serve with rice or mashed potatoes. Let’s dig in!

Oxtail ingredients

1kg (2.2lbs) oxtail
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
4 leeks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
50g tomato paste
250ml red wine
250ml beef stock
500g baby tomatoes
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
1kg (2.2lbs) baby potatoes
5 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fresh thyme and rosemary
2 bay leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper
Salt

Oxtail 1 2

Sprinkle flour over the oxtails and coat fully. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium and add the meat when the oil is hot. Fry for about 10 minutes until the meat is browned on all sides. Set aside.

 

 

 

 

Oxtail 5 2Pour the hot oil and pan drippings into a large pot, heat on medium and add the leeks and garlic. Fry for about 3 – 5 minutes. Return the oxtails into the pot with tomato paste and fry, turning the meat, for another 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and beef stock, add the fresh and tinned tomatoes and start bringing the stew to a slow boil.

 

 

 

Oxtail 6 2Add the carrots and potatoes. Wash your fresh thyme and rosemary and sprinkle a few sprigs into the pot. Splash in Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice and crack some black pepper. (I don’t add salt at this point – let it stew for an hour, taste it and add salt. The Worcestershire sauce is already salty so try to avoid adding too much salt.) Stir everything, cover, bring to a boil, uncover and simmer for 2 hours. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

 

 

Oxtail 8 2