Pies are such a pain in the neck to make, even when you’re cheating. First it’s the pastry base, then the filling, then the pastry top…but if your kids are old enough (like mine have just become) to understand that they shouldn’t touch the hot, hot ramekin bowl that their pie is served in – well, it makes life a lot easier. There goes those pesky bases, right out the window! Suddenly, pies can become one of the quickest, easiest and of course, yummiest home baked meals.
What you need:
*1 store purchased BBQ chicken. Use the fillets, chopped (yes, of course you can cook up a couple of chicken fillets yourself – but this is the cheat’s version, ok?).
*8 rashers of bacon, trimmed of fat and rind and then chopped.
*1 commercial brand jar of Bechamel sauce (normally used for lasagne)
*Half cup of cream or milk
*1 clove of garlic
*2 cups of sliced leeks
*3 spring onions, chopped
*3 – 4 sheets of commercial frozen puff pastry
*A handful of grated tasty cheese.
*Salt and pepper to taste
*Egg wash – mix an egg with a splash of milk
*5 – 6 small ceramic ramekins, depending on how many people you need to feed!
How it’s done:
Into a hot pan, add chopped garlic and leeks. Allow the leeks to soften, then add your bacon. Once that begins to brown, add chicken, Bechamel sauce and milk (or cream). Allow to simmer and reduce until mixture is thick. Finally, add spring onions (we like ours to stay a little crunchy) and seasonings. Turn your pan off, and allow it to cool slightly, before stirring through grated cheese.
While your mix is cooling, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Thaw out your puff pastry sheets, and cut to size big enough to cover the top of each ramekin. I use a small saucer as a guide. Place a ladle-sized scoop of the chicken and leek mixture into each ramekin, filling it to about ¾ full – allow for some bubbling while it’s cooking. Then, splash some egg wash around the perimeter of the ramekin with a pastry brush, and pop the pastry lid on, pinching it firmly around the edges. Prick the tops with a knife or fork to allow steam to escape, and give the whole thing another go with the egg wash.
Bake for around 15 minutes, or until the pastry tops are golden brown. Serve with chips and vegetables. And don’t forget to remind the rest of your family that the ramekins are hot!