My blog has got incredibly popular of late. This is a good thing, right? Sadly, no. Very wrong. It’s not my regular visitors and friends at all points in the free and not so free world that have me exercised. It’s those hard-hearted, vexatious, spotty people who spend their time spamming my virtual home here on WordPress. I checked today and have 475 spam comments in the darned efficient spam catcher used by WP. That means that of the time I spend here on the Internet, more of it is spent clearing out the dross and less is spent on the stuff you are here to see.
Here’s how I see them, the spammers, that is. They spend their time eating junk food in the windowless back room of a grotty internet café in some unloved suburb somewhere. They are pallid, flabby and suffer from nasty skin conditions brought on by their diet, their badness and the complete lack of sunlight in their lives. They will never, ever, taste my Chicken and Pancetta Pie. And, they are the losers, for sure.
This is a hot water pastry pie. There is no need to live in fear of hot water pastry. A long as you move fast and don’t mind getting your fingers scalded, everything will work out fine. The ingredients are as follows:
For the filling
- 800 grammes of chicken meat
- 250 grammes of pancetta
- 2 onions
- 100 grammes of butter
- A bunch of chives
- A handful of parsley
- 2 teaspoons of mace
- Half a teaspoon of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to season
For the pastry
- 110 grammes of lard
- 230 ml of water
- 580 grammes of plain flour
- An egg to paint on the top during cooking
- You will need to have an 8″ springform baking mould too.
I was feeling bad about the spammers and decided to take my frustration out on the chicken. I decided to save some money and get the best of chicken meat (and a good mix of types) by using a whole chicken and a few legs and thighs.
After chopping the chicken into smallish pieces, I chopped the pancetta.
Next, I chopped, grated and mixed all the ingredients in a big bowl.
I chopped and fried the onions in the butter. That seems like a lot of butter but, it helps to bind the pie when it cools.
I mixed the ingredients by hand. That explains the plastic glove in some of the shots. There is a lot of raw chicken around.
To make the pastry, you need to work fast. Add the lard and water to a saucepan and heat them until just off boiling.
Sieve the flour and add the hot mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until the cartilage in your elbow wears down and starts to hurt.
Cut one quarter of the mixture and reserve it, in cling film, for the pie topping. Put the rest of the mixture into the baking tin and work it to cover the entire base and sides as evenly as possible. Work fast before the pastry cools and starts to crack. This bit hurts the sensitive fingers of the good of heart.
I’ll bet those spammers could make this stuff all day, what with all their sending out nonsensical emails. Their fingertips must be like leather.
Next, I placed the filling in, pressing it down to really fill the pastry.
Roll out the remaining quarter of the pastry and pop the lid on the pie. Make a hole in the pastry, with a wooden spoon handle, to let the steam out. Make a better job of crimping the pie than I did.
Place the pie in a 200° C oven for 20 minutes. Take it out and paint it with an egg wash. Turn the oven down to 180° C and leave the pie in for a further 40 minutes. Take it out and avoid picking at the pastry. Let it cool and store it overnight in the fridge.
I had some jellied chicken stock on standby to pour into the pie but there was no room. The sign of a good pie!
We enjoyed this pie no end. As an aside, while I have been typing, the spam queue went up from 475 to 482. They are trying to get at my pie! The dirty scuts. Go back to your grotty, sweat smelling underworld, spam bots. Leave the nice stuff for us on the outside, in the sunshine, having fun, enjoying life and generally being nice to each other.