A classic Apricot Chicken made all the more comforting by encasing it in a buttery, flaky pie crust.
It’s been a while since I posted a main dish but in the interests of standing by my promise to provide you all kinds of wonderful recipes to feed your family and friends, I’ve decided it’s been too long.
I’ve been wanting to make this Apricot Chicken Pie for the longest time. I have this huuuuge, long list of recipe ideas that I just add to each time I think of a new one and this one has been on there since last winter. No more. Now it’s a reality. A beautiful crispy, flaky, sweet and savoury reality 🙂
Sweet and Savoury perfection
I really love Apricot Chicken because it’s got that whole sweet and savoury thing going on. Whenever we make it, hubby and I have this rice or pasta on the side debate. It’s gotta be pasta, right? Riiiight??? (Clearly he’s in favour of rice). We always settle the debate by whoever is making it, gets to choose. But I wanted to change things up a bit. What if I turn it into a pie? Now I know a lot of you will think I’m just messing with a classic but you guys have to try this. I only mess with the classics if I know it’s going to be good and this is good.
So, let’s get down to business here. Apricot Chicken Pie really works. The combination of super buttery, flaky pastry encasing delicate chunks of chicken with a perfectly balanced sweet and savoury sauce. Oh my! Delish!
Sneaky flavour trick
I’ve used a little soy sauce in place of some of the salt. This just adds a depth of flavour as well as that little bit of salt. I use the same little trick in my Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff recipe and it works a treat. Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste Asian inspired in any way as we aren’t using enough for that. Trust me – I wouldn’t lead you astray. Just enough to give a flavour boost.
And then there’s that pastry. This has become my absolute favourite pastry recipe. It takes literally minutes to make. The genius of this pastry recipe is that the thing that makes it great is the exact thing that also makes it quick and easy. There are two simple rules;
- Use everything cold – butter, water aaaaand it’s actually not crazy to put your ingredients (including the flour) in the freezer for 20 minutes before you start. Especially if it’s Summer
- Don’t handle it too much – Blend everything in a processor very quickly, then just gently pull it together and flatten it into a disk before putting it in the fridge for 1/2 hour. See saving you time 🙂
Genius right? I told you.
Now, go forth and bake pie
- 150 g apricot preserve
- 125 ml 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon mild paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes optional
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 large onion - roughly chopped (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 stalks celery - sliced (about ½ cup)
- 1 large clove garlic crushed
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 600 g chicken thighs - chopped into chunks
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium carrot sliced - about ¾ cup
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- 230 g unsalted butter - cubed and chilled
- 310 g 2 ¼ cups plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6-7 tablespoons ice water - see notes
To make the filling:
- Mix together the ingredients for the sauce.
- In a small saucepan, cover the carrots with water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- In a large frypan, over medium-high heat, add half the oil and chicken and fry until the outside of the chicken starts to brown (it doesn’t need to be cooked through). Set aside with the carrots.
- Turn the heat to medium and melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute, stirring, until the onion and celery start to soften.
- Add the mushrooms and fry, turning regularly until it starts to brown on the edges.
- Add the remaining oil and butter and let the butter melt. Sprinkle over the flour, then mix quickly while frying to cook the flour for about 1 minute.
- Add the sauce slowly, constantly mixing at the same time so that you don’t end up with lumps.
- Tip the carrots and chicken back in and mix well. Cook for another 5 minutes until the sauce is very thick.
- Taste test and add salt and pepper if necessary.
- Transfer to a bowl and sit in the fridge to cool.
To make the pastry
- Place the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until it looks like wet sand. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and continue to just pulse between each addition until the mixture just starts clumping together. Turn the dough out onto a board and just gently pull it together (don’t knead it) – see notes.
- Cut the dough into 2 pieces – 1 about 1/3 and the other about 2/3rds. Gently flatten each piece into a disk and wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / 180C fan forced.
- Line the base of a 8 inch round pie tin with baking paper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the larger piece of dough to about 4-5mm thick. Gently lay it over the pie tin and carefully press down into the corners.
- Tip the cold Apricot Chicken filling into the pie base.
- Roll out the smaller disk of dough to the same thickness and lay over the top. Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges together.
- Brush the beaten egg over the top of the pie and poke 3 holes in the top to let steam escape while baking.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes. The top should be nice and golden. If you notice the edges getting too dark too early, wrap the edges in foil until the cooking time is up.