C H I C K E N  &  M U S H R O O M  P O T  P I E

W I T H  A  P A R M E S A N - C H I V E  

C R U M B L E  C R U S T

Preparation time: 30-60 minutes, depending on

whether or not you are using pre-cooked chicken

Cooking time: 30-35 minutes in the oven

Serves: 6-8

Season: All ingredients available year-round

15 g fresh chives

225 g self-raising flour

Sea salt

1 tsp baking powder

85 g unsalted butter

75 g Parmesan cheese

225 ml full fat milk plus up to tblsp

Freshly ground black pepper

30 g dried porcini mushrooms

680 g left-over roast chicken meat or equivalent

amount of fresh boneless chicken

1 1/2 tblsp olive oil

1 medium onion

2 carrots

340 g button or chestnut mushrooms

Freshly ground black pepper

4 sprigs fresh thyme

50 g plain flour

240 ml chicken stock, homemade or store bought

240 ml porcini hydrating liquid

15 g fresh parsley

4 tblsp butter

3 tblsp Marsala wine

Begin by preparing the ingredients for the topping.  Wash, dry and finely chop the chives and set aside.  Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the bowl of a food processor or a medium sized mixing bowl.  The butter can be incorporated into the dry ingredients by 'pulse-chopping' the flour-butter mixture into a fine crumb or by working the butter into the flour with your fingertips.  If using a processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl.  Finely grate the Parmesan cheese and add, along with the chopped chives, to the mixture and fold to combine.  Sprinkle the milk over the top and season with black pepper.  Stir just until the mixture holds together.  It will look like a wet scone dough when combined.  Keep it in the bowl and put it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 480 ml of boiling water until soft, about 20 minutes.  Lift the mushrooms from the liquid and strain the liquid, reserving 240 ml.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / gas 4.  

If you are not using left-over roast chicken, cook the chicken by poaching it in a small deep pan.  Cover with water, bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minute for boneless breasts, 45 minutes for a whole bird.  To check that it is fully cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part.  If no pink liquid emerges, it is ready.  Transfer the meat to a large bowl.

Pour the oil into a large pot — if you cooked the chicken from raw use the pot you used to boil it.  Peel and dice the onion and carrots.  Slice the fresh mushrooms and re-hydrated porcini.  Add to the pot and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Season well with salt and pepper.

While the vegetables are sautéing, shred the chicken (cooked or left-over) into small pieces.  Transfer the cooked vegetables to the bowl with the shredded chicken.

Heat 4 tblsp butter over medium-high heat in the same now empty saucepot.  Wash and remove the leaves from the sprigs of thyme and add to the hot butter.  After about 30 seconds, when the sizzling subsides, add the flour.  Cook the flour mixture for a minute until it darkens slightly in colour.  Slowly pour in the chicken stock, reserved porcini hydrating liquid and the milk.  Bring to a simmer, and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens.  Again, season with salt and pepper.  Then, add the Marsala.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.  Stir to coat.  Wash, chop and add the parsley.  Taste for a final seasoning and transfer to a large rectangular baking dish, about 33x23 cm in length.  Using a large spoon, dot the surface with walnut-sized pieced of the Parmesan-chive crust.  Try to create a slightly uneven finish; it will be more visually appealing once it comes out of the oven giving it a 'cobbled' effect.  Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is nice and browned and the filling bubbling.