The first recorded chicken pie recipe was found on a stone tablet, carved sometime before 2000BC. Thankfully, there are now faster ways to spread the word.
Serves 4 generously
Core and quarter 2 pears and roast, leaving the skin on.
2 Cover 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs with cold water in a medium pot. Add the white part of 1 leek that you have cut into small squares or strips. Add a bay leaf and a few peppercorns, and maybe a bit of white wine. You are poaching the chicken and also making a stock.
3 Bring to the boil, then simmer until the chicken is cooked.
4 Strain out the chicken and leek and remove the peppercorns and bay leaf. Keep the stock.
5 Dice the chicken and roasted pear into chunky pieces.
6 Take 2 cups of the stock and return to the pot. Reduce by a third. Make a smooth mix of flour or cornflour and cold water and add this to the boiling stock, whisking well. Thicken until a smooth sauce has formed to "bind" the ingredients. Add half a cup of finely grated parmesan.
7 Season. Mix in the chicken, pear and leek and cool.
8 I used a terracotta plant base to cook this in. Lining it with pastry, I wanted to make a closed pie. It would have been more successful to use a metal pie tin as it was hard to get the bottom pastry cooked through the less conductive terracotta. If I did this again I would just put the filling into the plant base and top the pie with the pastry.
Whichever vessel you choose, place the cooled filling into the pastry and cover with another layer of pastry. Crimp the edges to seal and brush with a beaten egg to glaze.
9 Cook in a pre-heated moderate oven.
This savoury pie has sweet flavours so serve it with a sharp, spicy chutney for contrast.