This mushroom, fennel & broccoli pie, with it’s cheesy white sauce and homemade ruff-puff pastry is so exactly what we need right now to counteract the freezing cold weather we’re suffering. I realise it seems like a lot of work and I’m not going to lie, it’s an afternoons worth of baking but try and find a slow Sunday to slowly work your way through the recipe and I promise you the rewards will be phenomenal.
I’m making this a vegetarian pie by using some Quorn chicken-style pieces but feel free to use regular chicken or your favourite meat substitute or even just more of your favourite vegetables.
for the filling
- a handful of chestnut mushrooms – thickly chopped
- butter and olive oil
- rosemary and thyme
- salt and pepper – I’m using the wonderful salt and peppery from Cornish Sea Salt
- 1/2 fennel bulb – chopped
- 4 banana shallots – peeled and thickly sliced
- 350 gram pack of chicken style pieces (or roughly 2 chicken breasts – diced)
- 1 packet of broccolini
for the cheesy white sauce
- 500ml milk
- 50g butter
- 50g flour
- 100g strong cheddar – grated
for the pastry
- 60g butter – grated and then frozen
- 200g butter – grated and then frozen (I always use lightly salted butter)
- 350g cold plain flour (pop it in the freezer the night before you want to make this)
- roughly 150ml ice cold water mixed with a teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
THE ‘RUFF PUFF’ PASTRY
Place the flour into a large bowl and using your fingertips, quickly rub in the 60g of butter, then add the water / lemon juice mix a tablespoon at a time. You can stir this with a wooden spoon but I like to use my hand shaped like a claw as I can feel the flour and water begin to form the dough so I know how much liquid to add. You want to add enough liquid to form a firm dough that isn’t too tacky.
Knead the dough fora couple of minutes then wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for about 10 mins.
Flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a long rectangle with the short side nearest you, then sprinkle the bottom 2/3rds of the rectangle with half the grated frozen butter. (Push it down into the dough slightly.) Fold over the top un-buttered third towards you and then fold the bottom third back over the top so that you have created 6 layers of dough/butter/dough/butter/dough/butter.
Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll it out again into a rectangle and repeat the above with the remaining butter. Roll it our again after this and fold, then wrap and refrigerate for a good hour.
Repeat the roll and fold process again three more times but don’t worry about refrigerating the dough between each fold. if you work fast you really won’t need to.
After the 5th roll and fold, wrap it and pop it into the fridge for at least an hour before using. (You can freeze at this stage.)
Start with the mushrooms, which I gently sauté in a pan with a little butter and olive oil. Season well with salt, pepper and plenty of fresh rosemary. Sauté until they are golden brown, then remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add a little more oil and butter and then add the fennel and onions and sauté gently until the soften. This should take about 5 mins with a little stirring. Then add the chicken pieces (or chicken if using) and sauce for another 5 mins until cooked with a little colour on the outside. Season well with rosemary and thyme and then bung the broccolini on top.
Place the lid on and turn the heat to its lowest and let the broccoli soften. This should take about 5 mins. Then stir it in along with the cooked mushrooms.
THE CHEESE SAUCE
Place the milk, butter and flour into a saucepan on a gentle heat and whisk gently until it thickens. You must whisk and whisk or you’ll get lumps. It will take roughly 8 mins to thicken. If it looks like it’s turning lumpy simply remove it from the heat and stir.
Stir in the grated cheese and then when it’s gloriously glossy tip the cooked vegetables into it and stir it all together.
TIME TO BUILD THE PIE
Pre-heat your oven to 170C fan.
I’m using an oblong 26cm ceramic pie dish but to be honest, any type of pie dish will work. Butter it well, then divide the pastry into two even halves. Pop one back into the fridge and roll the other one out so that it’s large enough to cover the inside of your pie dish.
Roll out the other half of the pastry in preparation.
Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie dish. Then lay the second half of the pastry on top. Seal well all the way around and crimp or decorate the top of the pie to your liking. Trim the edges of the pie and then use the trimmings to make some pretty shapes to lay on top.
Brush the top of the pie with a little milk and then bake in the oven for 30 – 40 mins until the pie crust is gloriously golden and the filling is piping hot.
For more pie recipes, check these out on Dom in the Kitchen.
Eat and of course, enjoy!