Saturday, September 20, 2008

Favourite Kentish Recipes; Appledore Chicken Pie

I've loved cookbooks since I was a wee thing, but I didn't start collecting them until I went to the U.K. with my mother, aunt, and sister for an extended holiday. I fell in love with a series of small cookbook booklets by J. Salmon Ltd. press, each representing a different region of Great Britain (no Northern Ireland, alas). This week, we'll look at the first one of these booklets, Favourite Kentish Recipes. Don't know where Kent is? It's in the bottom right-hand corner of England. The booklet was compiled by Pat Smith, with illustrations (very pretty ones, at that) by A. R. Quinton. There's no copyright date inside, but I bought the booklets in 1998, so I'll assume a 1990s copyright (for tagging purposes).
Appledore Chicken Pie

1 chicken, or joints, to give 1 1/2 lbs. of raw chicken meat
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
2 or 3 rashers of bacon, de-rinded and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh herbs, finely chopped or 1 teaspoon dried herbs
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 oz. flour
8 oz. shortcrust pastry

Set oven to 375°F or Mark 5. Remove the chicken meat from the bones. Place the bones in a pan, cover with water, put on a lid and simmer for 2-3 hours to produce some stock. Roll the meat in seasoned flour and put a layer in a pie dish. Cover with the chopped bacon and egg slices. Finish with the remaining chicken. Sprinkle the herbs over the meat. Cover with a pastry lid, making a hole in the centre and bake for 1 hour. Reduce the temperature to 350°F or Mark 4 and cook for a further 1 hour. If the pastry appears to be browning too rapidly, protect with a piece of greaseproof paper. Remove from the oven and, through the hole in the pastry, top up with some of the hot stock from the bones. Serves 4.
If you're newer to cooking, you might not catch that the salt and pepper were supposed to go into the flour, seasoning it. You also might not be used to the term "shortcrust pastry." It's a basic pastry/pie dough, that's basically 1 part fat to 2 parts flour, with a little water. Because we live in the golden age of the internet, there is, of course, a website to help you out: No joke. If you're not up for making your own crust (or using a Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, which even Chefly Husband will use in a pinch -- it tastes just fine), you can also use puff pastry for your pie lid. Mmm. Puff pastry.

I like these booklets in part because they translate themselves, early and often. Yes, gas mark whatever is listed, but also degrees Fahrenheit. Units of measurement tend to be given in "standard" as opposed to metric, but there's a ton of charts in the back to help you adjust to what you're used to.

For the bacon, you could use standard supermarket bacon... I'd recommend getting some thicker, dryer slices from the butcher, though. Or, if resources permit, get some proper Irish or English bacon rashers. ...just thinking of good English bacon makes me hunger for a hot English breakfast. How long until I go to Northern Ireland? Only 9 more months...


  1. Er...that would be bottom right-hand corner, dumpling. Bottom left is me!

  2. FABULOUS. Going to edit. :blush:

    Did I ever tell you the story of how my (also left-handed) uncle taught me that my left hand was really my right hand, and that my mother and father were just teasing me by telling me it was my left?

    Yeah.... good times. That didn't screw me up for 30 years or anything...

  3. Also! I am a huge fan of replacing shortcrust wholesale with phyllo (which I think is filo in the States), because baking blind makes me wish to actually stab my eyes out with hot forks, and I have the world's hottest hands for pastry anyway.

  4. Oh, yes, that would work beautifully, too.

    I have three (three!) cookbooklets focusing on Wales in the queue.

  5. I love those books! I'll have to dig mine out. Wasn't there one focusing on teas?

  6. My chefly mother will also use a Pillsbury crust if she is not making her own.

  7. If it's good enough for Melanie's momma, it's good enough for any of us.

    Really, they're easy and tasty, and such an improvement over the frozen crusts.