Friday, March 25, 2011

Homemade ramekin pies

My partner and I have been watching Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals lately, and some of his creations have looked worthy of being tried and/or modified. One such example was his chicken and mushroom filo pies, made in ramekins so that only the top was filo. My partner thought they looked nice, and I thought they would be a fun entry to pastry-related cooking.

Unfortunately, by the time I got around to thinking about making them, the recipe was no longer available on his website. My best googling efforts also failed to turn up a written recipe.

Fortunately, I'm not one to let minor hurdles get in the way! provided a similar recipe for chicken and corn filo pies, and this provided my base for modification.

I had two goals in my modifications: to turn the chicken and corn pie into a chicken and potato pie, and to create a vegetarian variety centering on pumpkin. I also accidentally bought puff pastry at the supermarket, instead of filo, so needed to modify plans to incorporate that :-/

 What I came up with is as follows:

Chicken and potato pie for one 
  • 1 skinless chicken breast (~150g)
  • 1/2 onion
  • ~1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup stock (I used chicken-style vegetarian stock)
  • ~1tsp milk
  • ~1tbspn plain flour
  • Seasoning (I used dried oregano and pepper)
  • Puff pastry, ~1/4 sheet

Vegetable / pumpkin pie for one
  • 1 cup pumpkin, cubed
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup stock (I used chicken-style vegetarian stock)
  • ~1tspn plain flour
  • Seasoning (I used dried oregano and pepper)
  • Puff pastry, ~1/4 sheet

1. Preheat oven to 200'C and remove one sheet of puff pastry from the freezer

2. Chicken version: Add potato and carrot to boiling water and simmer until cooked through.                                                                  Vegetable version: Add pumpkin and carrot to a steamer and steam until cooked through. Add mushrooms towards the end.
Vegetables pre-cooking                

3. Chicken version: While the potato is cooking, heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the onion. Cook until just golden (~2 minutes). Add the chicken and cook until just brown (~10 minutes).

4. Chicken version: Add the potato and carrot mix to the chicken and onion mix. Add the stock, milk and flour. Reduce heat and simmer for ~10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Vegetable version: In a non-stick pan, cook the onion in 1/4 cup stock, until just golden (~2 minutes). Add the pumpkin, carrot and mushroom mix, the other 1/4 cup stock, and the flour. Reduce heat and simmer ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take care not to over cook or your pie filling will start to resemble pumpkin soup!

5. Transfer pie fillings to individual ramekins. Cut puff pastry sheet into quarters and lay one quarter on each ramekin.

6. Cook in the oven for ~30 minutes.

A bonus tart appeared!

I used the left over puff pastry sheet to make an impromptu tart: strawberry jam, diced apple, and a sprinking of brown sugar.

The verdict?

We both loved our pies! I was surprised at how flavorsome mine was, given I didn't add much spice or many vegetable varieties. In the future I'd add some green beans or peas, to mix up the textures and colours, but it tasted great as it was. 

All in all this, took me about 90 minutes, start to finish. However, 30 minutes of that was the oven cooking, and I think that if I made them again, I could shave 30 minutes off the total time. Not having a proper recipe and making them for the first time, I wasted a bit of time getting organised and stopping and starting different things.

So thanks to Jamie Oliver, and thanks to Pampas for providing reduced fat, ready to go, vegan puff pastry :)


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