John Torode’s chicken pie – and why I will never be masterchef!

Hubby and I really got into this year’s Masterchef! If you watched it you will know, but in case you didn’t, during the heats John Torode would cook something (and show the viewer at home roughly how) then the contestants had to taste it to work out what was in it, and cook it. One week he made a really lovely creamy chicken pie, and, I love chicken pie but have naver really had a clue how to make a yummy thick creamy one, so we recorded the episode and wrote down the rough recipe from it.

As it was bank holiday weekened and we had a little more time on our hands I decided to have a bash at making it. So we knew all the ingredients and the rough ways to cook them, but had no clue on the amounts or cooking times etc so it was a good bit of fun guestimation!

The ingredients were:

Chicken Thighs
Carrots (he used celery but we don’t like it so added carrots :))
Chicken Stock
Single cream
Butter and flour
Filo Pastry


So I got all of the ingredients chopped and ready though potentially got a bit carried away, especially considering that I’d only bought one pot of chicken stock. Anyway, then it was add the ingredients to the hot chicken stock and add some single cream, Nutmeg and some pepper. At this point I realised I had way too much meat and veg and not enough sauce. So quick chat to the hubby, decided to make 2 pies, and use an oxo cube in the second pie to make some more stock. So divided the two batches and felt much happier. Strained the liquid off and then it was time to make a roux!


I’ve never actually made a roux before, I know you “should” if you are making b├ęchamel sauce for example in lasagne, but, well I’m lazy and generally just shove all the ingredients in, give a good stir and it usually works out fine! But for this, making a roux seemed like the right thing to do. I used huuuge quantities of butter but it seemed to go quite well, until I noticed a funny smell. Because I now had pie filling in our two big saucepans, I was using a small Le Creuset pot to make the roux, and was holding on to one of the hot handles with an oven glove, but at the same time I was managing to burn the oven glove in the hob flames! D’oh! Hence the horrible smell.


Unfortunately even after I realised this, and though I tried many different positions with the glove, I even managed to set it alight at one point! Honestly I am hazardous in the kitchen sometimes! Nevertheless, I made one roux for the first pie and as I mixed it with the sauce it thickened up amazingly and was lovely and gloopy, so it looked perfect. With the roux for the next pie, I don’t think I had enough roux for the liquid as it barely thickened at all. But anyway, we shall see how they turn out! Actually had to use some of the first pie mixture in the second pie in the end anyway as there was too much for the dish I was using. (As you can see I don’t actually have pie dishes, which might have been useful, but found a couple of almost suitable dishes!)


Next job, pastry! Nope, not making my own, good old jus’roll is perfect for me! Now according to the lovely Mr Torode, the filling should not touch the pastry otherwise it’ll be undercooked underneath and he describes it as being cheesy. I personally like the soggy pastry in pies but maybe I am weird so I tried desperately to follow his instructions. But I failed, miserably. Not sure if it is because the dishes I am using are too big but the pastry just kept flopping into the pie and onto the filling. Is it possible for this not to happen? There is no lip around either of the dishes either so trying to seal the pastry was interesting.


Anyway it happened with both dishes so after a bit of stress I just egg washed the pastry and shoved them in the oven, they will have to do!! After about half an hour they were looking nice and brown so we got them out. The first pie went in the pyrex dish, the second in the white dish.




Now I thought that the first pie would have been better as the sauce had thickened more and had the proper stock in it, but actually it was a bit too thick after cooking and almost bland – I think I must have used too much of the roux. The second pie, which had a combination of the thick and thin sauce was definitely the taster of the two. There are definitely improvements to make, I think personally I would leave the potato out of the pie and have more of the ham, chicken and veg in there. Or at least have the potato bits smaller, but then I’m not the biggest potato lover anyway really! Def one to try again though as not bad for a first attempt!



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