Welcome to England where we will spend 4 days having classic dishes that make you think “quintessential England.” Most of these dishes we had never heard of, but we won’t be forgetting them that’s for sure!
England is apart of the UK and borders Wales, Scotland, the Irish Sea, the Northern sea, the English Channel, and neighbors with Ireland and the Isle of Man. With all that said you can never be further than 70 miles from the ocean due to its several coast lines. England is the largest country of the United Kingdom and mostly comprised of flat land, however the northern aspect has its mountains and hills. It is home to Stonehenge in the South and Windsor Castle just west of London.
A traditional English meal consists often of meat and vegetables. Potatoes are a common staple whether it be in their main form or in fry form (fish and chips anyone?). Roasting, smoking, boiling, and pie making are some of several different preparations of food. Cornish pasties, scones, and Yorkshire pudding are some of the classic treats enjoyed here.
Chicken and mushroom pie is a common pie enjoyed throughout Great Britain complete with a creamy filling and a puff pastry crust. This flavor combination is one of the most popular and we can see why! The actual origins of chicken pie are found in Greece where they started serving artocreas without the pie top. The Romans later on added a top crust which made the beginnings of the chicken pies we known and love today.
In the 16th century when Britain began to make their own chicken pies they were decorated with flowers and other fancy designs mostly for the royals or the higher class. I couldn’t locate the origins or history of this particular flavor pairing however I’d assume its simple ingredients made it easier to prepare throughout the region.
I was left with extra filling (the issue with converting a 8 small pie recipe to 1 large pie) however that really wasn’t much of a problem! I skipped the traditional short crust pastry and regret not attempting it at this time, but I feel this was one I made during the week and it was just a lot easier to attempt with a premade crust. I had no issues getting all the ingredients and the filling prep was easy.
For our first day in England it was well spent. Thyme was a flavor note that carried through the dish, the filling very cream and stew-like. The mushrooms brought a subtle nuttiness, overall the flavors were very comforting. Unfortunately the crusts were too tough to eat (over cooked 😣) which would get a big thumbs down from some of you diehards out there, but trust us it was worthy of a 8.5/10 rating!
England’s Chicken and Mushroom Pie
- 1 lb chicken breast cut into cubes
- 10.5 oz chestnut mushrooms sliced
- 2 medium leeks finely sliced
- 2 tbsp butter softened
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup double cream heavy cream
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp thyme leaves
- 1 egg + 2 tbsp water whisked together for brushing
- 1 premade pie crust I used Pillsbury
- In a large skillet add the olive oil turning the heat to medium. Allow leeks to cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook on all sides for about 5 minutes, then add in the mushrooms. Pour in the wine and season with salt and pepper. Allow the wine to evaporate then add a third of the chicken stock. Let it simmer until the chicken is fully cooked.
- In a saucepan add the butter and allow it to melt on medium-low heat then whisk in the flour. Add in the remaining chicken stock and whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Turn the heat to low and allow the sauce to thicken. Once thickened add to the pan with chicken. At this time preheat the oven to 375
- Add the thresh thyme and double cream cooking for another 5 minutes until fully incorporated and thickened more.
- Grease pie plate and place 1 layer of pie dough in plate, press the bottom down to fit the sides. Add filling to nearly the height of the plate to decrease the chances of it bubbling over (like mine did). Secure top pie dough on top using fork to press down edges. Brush with egg wash and place in oven cooking until golden brown- rotate half way through if oven isn't convection. Baking time should take 50 minutes to 1 hour.
- Allow pie to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. We ate the pie without sides but if you are feeding a crowd side dishes of mashed potatoes, salad, or sautéed green beans are good options!