Romanesco Broccoli Chicken Pie

The Pie
My mate Annie told me about a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe for a Cauliflower broccoli blue cheese pie that she and Andy love, so I decided to look it up and give it a try. But as I only had half the ingredients, wanted to make something with chicken and had a guest who doesn’t like blue cheese, a whole nother pie was born!

The Pie
We had the lovely Lotta and Gerrie for dinner with us and I wanted to make something special as they always make wonderful Tagine’s when we go there for dinner (recipe and photos will follow, just be patient). And Gerrie hadn’t quite liked the chilli-ginger-loaded vegetable soup I had made before, so I had a lot to make up for! Oops, next time reduce ginger and chilli by a dozen…
The Guests
This pie turned out really well, even better than Yotam’s if you ask me. I know, I know, self-praise stinks, but they all said they loved it, so it mustn’t have been too bad. Actually it was damn fine, so give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!

I served mine with a pile of mash potatoes and oven roasted cherry tomatoes, but I plain forgot the peas! They would have looked so nice on the plate… If you’re only having the pie, you don’t need anything else and this is enough for 4-6 people. If you serve it with mash and peas, it’s enough for 8.
The Pie
I sprinkled half the pie with parmesan and half with blue cheese before putting the “lid” on (the top piece of pastry) as Gerrie isn’t a huge blue cheese fan. Just remember where each is before serving it! I rolled up leftover pastry into what some would call roses and others not…which you can place strategically so you know where what is.

I used bought puff pastry, but feel free to make your own if you like. Yotam used 500g and used 2/3’s on the bottom and 1/3 on top which is quite sensible, but I had a large enough round one to fill my form and so had ½ and ½. Did leave extra on top, but then you can make nice roses to decorate with the extra!

He also blind bakes his pastry which is another very sensible thing to do to avoid soggy bottoms. My little gas oven has a lot of heat at the bottom, so I don’t tend to do this, but if you have trouble with getting the bottom of your pies to bake properly, then it’s probably best to do so.

(Serves 4-8)
2 packets puff pastry (200-250g each)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
400g chicken breast, diced
1 tbsp herb d’Provence or other mixed herbs
Salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika, hot or sweet
3 tbsp flour
300ml cream
3 tbsp mustard, Dijon or wholegrain
1 small Romanesco (or half a big one), in florets
1 head broccoli (normally 500g), in florets
150g blue cheese, cut in pieces
75g parmesan or parmigiana regiano, grated
1 egg, beaten with a dash of water or milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 375F. If you are blind baking your base (see note above ingredients), place half (so 1 packet) the dough in the tin with the baking paper in which it comes. The round pastry dough we get here comes up the sides of a round 26/28cm spring form baking tin.
2. Then prick it all over with a fork and line it with more baking paper and beans, and bake for 15 minutes and remove. If you are not blind baking then put the pastry in the tin just before you fill it (keep it cold till then).
3. Heat the oil and sauté the onions and garlic for about 5 minutes till softened. Add the chicken breast and season with salt, pepper, paprika and herbs. Sauté for another 5 minutes or so until just cooked.
4. Sprinkle the flour over the chicken and stir to combine. Add the cream and mustard and simmer for a few minutes to thicken slightly. Remove and allow to cool a little.
5. In the meantime, blanche the broccoli and Romanesco for about 2 minutes, so that they still have a little crunch (al dente). Drain and allow to cool a little. (Reserve a few florets for decoration on the plate.)
6. Mix the vegetables with the chicken and check for seasoning.
7. Put the mix into the prepared pastry case, dot with the blue cheese and sprinkle the parmesan, cover with the second piece of pastry and make a couple of slits on top for the hot air to vent. Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Now sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour!

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