Quick Chicken Parmesan Red Pepper Pie made with BBQ chicken
When I was a young apprentice I would like to say that I worked in a really amazing restaurant but I worked at the Westpac bank. It was then called the "Wales Bank" and now the ANZ. There were a number of kitchens, all catering to various levels of staff ,the rivalry between these kitchens kept everyone on their toes. There was "King Street "in the building where Apple is now. Then there was "Wales House" an outpost over near Bridge Street and finally "6o Martin Place" arguably the pinnacle of the kitchens as far as hierarchy went. It catered to the banks elite, the managers , directors and the board. The kitchens had a view out over the city and the board rooms had a breathtaking view out past the Opera House and Bridge. There was a sommelier and a butler and the food was at a different pace to the other kitchens.
I started at King Street where there was a staff cafe. Each morning we made fresh doughnuts, scones and all manner of slices and cakes. Lunch followed and amongst the enormous amount of items we cooked were pies, everyday we made at least 100 pies. Braising beef or lamb and rolling and folding puff pastry. I had to fill and top the pies and bake them by 11.30 each day. I was very young and I will never forget making hundreds of pies a week, lugging huge buckets of braised meat from the cool room and trying to get every thing cooked and done by 11.30 . It was usually after staying up late every night as I discovered what the City of Sydney had to offer a young apprentice with the Princely sum of $40.00 a week to spend!
After a year here I was sent to fill in at Wales house ... a small kitchen with only a very tiny cafe but we cooked mostly for managers here who had lots of luncheons. The Chef was Japanese and I loved her, she was so gentle and the kitchen was a creative interesting place with ever changing dishes. She taught me to make a light as a feather chocolate and macadamia steamed cake, that I still remember .
When I was asked to work at 60 Martin place, I was very sad to leave Wales House.........but I had finally made it to the board room and it was quite a different world. Each day an Entrée , Main and Dessert were served at the exact same time , like clockwork. I dont know how they ate this everyday along with wines and pre-lunch drinks and then petite fours. I suppose they had guests often and it was not always the same directors and Managers.
Fast forward to the future and I can tell you that the one thing bedsides pasta that my son Skater loves is pies.
You may have seen the picture of the chicken pie above before if you have been reading this blog for a little while. This pie was quite a hit with Skater therefore it has been cooked numerous times. The recipe has been road tested by a few people now. The only thing I can tell you is that the recipe makes enough filling for two pies
100 gm parmesan grated (or more if you like- I do)
Set the Oven 200 C
Sweat the vegetables and thyme in a pot with the olive oil till soft but not browned. Season with salt and pepper.
When soft add the Dijon and flour and stir to combine. Gradually add the stock letting it cook and thicken each time
When the mixture is very thick and bubbling take off the heat and add the chicken and the parsley. Make sure that the sauce is still very thick as this will make a nicer filling.
Add the parmesan stirring in and taste again. It should taste well seasoned , cheesy with a spike of dijon. ( If it doesn't taste fabulous now......it won't later!
Pour the filling onto a tray and pop into the fridge to cool or in the freezer for 10 minutes ( this is because the hot filling will melt the pastry. If you need to make it straight away then work quickly)
Lay a sheet of puff pastry onto a baking tray lined with paper
Put a mound of the chicken mixture on to the pastry and paint around the edges with egg yolk
Put a little more parmesan on top of this if you like
Press another layer of pastry onto the top. Stretching it just fractionally to fit. Press down well
Add a good pinch of sea salt to the egg yolk and a drop of water and paint all over the top of the pie ( if using granulated salt use only a tiny pinch). the addition of salt browns the pastry more and also seasons it making it taste irresistible.
Bake for approx. 30-40 minutes or until crisp and brown. ( I sometimes put it onto my pizza stone for extra heat underneath.
Please share….. Delice Panna Cotta I know it is odd……………… I have a job where I am able to spend time, working out how you are going to use up the last bit of that expensive cheese you bought at the deli. This is also where I am going to tell you that cheese is not just served with crackers….. it really makes a great dessert. We are already comfortable with cheese cake and perhaps even baked ricotta with berries, mascapone in tira misu, these are all creamy cheese laden desserts already established, in kitchens across Australia. I want to introduce you to another world of cheese as a dessert. This is the first. Cheese goes with chocolate, fruit and cake, and lots of other interesting things. No really, you will understand soon…