Pies, Pies and More Pies ... Why?
Two of my biggest passions in life are food, and sport. I LOVE going to a sports stadium and watching a great sporting match! Whatever the sport or code, it’s all great time spent with mates. The foodie in me loves to get a good feed at the game, and there’s no better food to suit the mood then a hot meat pie. It’s one of my favourite things to eat, beer in one hand, pie in the other, fully focused on the game and enjoying the moment.
The “perfect pie” is something I’ll probably continue to search for the rest of my life: the tastiest filling ... the perfect pastry ... the best combinations of sides and ingredients ... All these things add up to a great meal! So, for these reasons, I want to explore each Aussie state and territory - one stadium pie at a time.
Pie Inspiration - Where to Begin?
I visit lots of NSW stadiums: ANZ Stadium, Allianz Stadium, Sydney Cricket Ground, Brookvale Oval, Parramatta Stadium ... the list goes on. Last week I went with my mates to ANZ Stadium to watch the NSW Waratahs against the ACT Brumbies, and I was telling them about this upcoming blog post and how it related to my Bucket List. “What pie recipe should I share to go along with this NSW post?” I asked them. They suggested something inspired by my MasterChef experience. And instantly, an idea popped into my head.
Put simply, a pie is basically a good filling with some kind of casing - there are few other rules. So, you can pretty much slow whatever ingredients and flavours you want together, and there you have it! In one of the radio interviews I did shortly after my MasterChef eviction, a Radio Host suggested “What if the stadiums offered a Cider Chicken Pie? Now THAT would be something special!” She was referring to the Cider Can Chicken dish which got me through to the Top 24. Since then I’ve wondered - how would this turn out? How would I combine those flavours into a pie?
And here’s what I’ve done! Naturally, I’ve used Maple syrup - I hope you enjoy!
Next pies will be from Victoria and Queensland - stay tuned! What pies do you think most speak to these parts of Australia? Let me know at Stadium Grub on Facebook!
Cider Chicken Pies
Makes: 12 individual pies
2 Carrots, rough chopped
2 Celery Stocks, rough chopped
10 Cloves of Garlic, whole
2 Brown Onions - one rough chopped, the second finely diced
1 bunch Coriander
1 x 1.5 kg Free-Range Chicken
2 Large Red Chillies, seeds removed and finely diced
1 Cob of Corn, corn removed
1 Medium-sized Fennel bulb, finely chopped
2 Tbsp White Flour
250 mL Cider
100 mL Full Cream
Zest from 1 Lemon
1 Cup of Maple Syrup
400 grams White Flour
200 grams Butter
2 Tsp Salt
4 Tbsp Cold Water
4 sheets Puff Pastry (from scratch, or store-bought)
2 Eggs, beaten (for brushing)
1. Put first 3 ingredients, only of the onions plus 2 sprigs of Coriander in a large soup pot. Sit chicken on top of of these ingredients, and fill up with just enough cold water to cover the chicken.
2. Bring to a boil. Boil for 45-60 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
3. Remove chicken from boiling water - set aside, until cool enough to handle.
4. Keep remaining ingredients boiling in soup pot, until reduced by half. While this is boiling, remove meat from chicken, and set aside.
5. Once stock is reduced by half, strain into a clean pot, and set aside in a clean pot. Keep warm over a low heat.
6. In a frying pan, melt a large knob of butter and sweat through finely chopped coriander roots, remaining onion, chillies, corn and fennel.
7. Once cooked through, stir through flour and cook for 20-30 seconds. Add cider and heat through until liquid has reduced by half. Add 2 cups of
the hot chicken stock, cream and lemon zest. Chop up the remaining coriander and add to filling. Salt and Pepper to taste.
8. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
9. To make your pastry, blend the butter, salt and the flour with a pastry cutter until you've created a uniform mixture that is crumbly (about the size of frozen peas).
10. Mix together with just enough water to bring it together. Knead until you have a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and rest in for 20-30 minutes (about as long for the pie filling to cool).
11. Heat oven to 180C.
12. Line individual pie tins with pastry rolled to 3mm (roughly). Fill each pie with 1 soup ladle full of filling.
13. Pour 1 tbsp of Maple Syrup over the filling in each pie before covering with remaining pastry.
14. Brush with egg wash. Cut puff pastry out in rounds, and sit on top of pies casings. Press edges down with a fork, cut a small hole for steam to release while cooking, and brush with one final pass of egg wash.
15. Cooking for 25-30 minutes, until puff pastry is golden brown and pie filling is bubbly.
16. Serve with sauce, or with mash potato.
What’s YOUR idea of the best pie? Join us at Stadium Grub on Facebook and let us know!