Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Chukka Pies

Our new Sulgrave Orchard Cider is a much sharper, fruitier and cleaner tasting cider than our Rockingham Forest Cider. This crisper flavour is due to the blend of apples we used to make it, mostly dessert fruit rather than tannin-rich cider apples. This 'Eastern Counties' style of cider is perhaps closer in flavour to a crisp white wine than a traditional 'West-country' cider, and for my money the higher acidity makes it much better as a cooking ingredient.

We decided to put this to the test with a pot roast of Free-Range Chicken in Cider, with assorted vegetables, and a generous pinch of Tarragon. The Chicken was delicious, and the cider made for a really tasty gravy. The left-over meat was destined for pies, though if truth be told I was thinking of the pies before the roast, so the roast was just a means to an end really...

This pie-making session was inspired by Phil Young's Rebel Chicken Pie blog entry, heavily tweaked to suit our current store-cupboard situation. We sauteed some Leeks and Celery in a little oil, stirred in a heaped tablespoon of flour before adding a slosh or two of the all important Sulgrave Orchard Cider. At this point the gelatinous remnants of the Sunday roast gravy were added, giving a serious Tarragon-y boost to the overall flavour.

The chopped-up chicken was then stirred in, along with a generous handful of garden peas (fresh from the freezer). The rapidly thickening gloop was then allowed to cool.

Karen has been blessed with an excellent set of 'Pastry Fingers'. Whilst my talents extend merely to the simmer and stir, Pastry-Queen Karen is truly the skilled artisan in this pie-making operation. I stood back, poured a glass of cider, and let the woman get on with it.

The cooled pie filling was then spooned, a little over-generously, into the waiting pie-lets, before topping off, and brushing with a golden yolk from the Rockingham Forest Cider Flock (long may they lay).

Baked for half an hour or so, the pastry was perfect, the filling absolutely delicious. A fitting contribution to British Pie Week... which was last week... so we missed it!

1 comment:

Phil said...

I bet the cider takes the pie to a different level.