Apparently, these are really called pasties in England, so you can call them whatever you want.
I decided on these for the winter picnic because I wanted something that was warm and not messy. I kept thinking of a calzone, but those can get tomato sauce everywhere if you aren’t careful. Plus, I wanted to make something that was a little more around-the-campfire-ish feeling, and I couldn’t think of anything more homey and inviting than a stew.
All I did was make a chicken stew, or the insides of a chicken pot pie. Then I cooked it inside a pie crust. They were really tasty, and perfect for an outside meal in the cold.
chicken hand pies or chicken pasties
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
2 large carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1 14 ounce (400mL) can low sodium chicken stock
1 bouillon cube (I actually prefer Better than Bouillon–just use a tablespoon)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
pastry dough (recipe follows)
1 egg, plus a teaspoon of water, beaten
1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until potatoes are tender to the point of a knife. Drain and set aside. While the potatoes cook, set a large skillet over medium low heat and add in the olive oil, onion, celery, and carrots. Cook until onions are very tender, about 12-15 minutes.
2. Melt butter into the mixture and stir in flour. Let cook for 2 minutes or so, just to let the flour taste cook out. Pour in about half of the can of chicken stock. Add the bouillon and potatoes. Let simmer a few minutes and taste for flavor. Add salt and pepper if needed. Add in chicken and simmer until cooked through. The mixture should be thick, but not too dry. Add more chicken stock until you achieve the desired consistency (I used the whole can). Store mixture in refrigerator until ready to use (the pies are easier to make if the filling is cold).
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees (220 degrees celsius). Place a piece of parchment paper in a baking sheet and set aside. Roll out the pastry dough on a floured board into an 18×22 inch rectangle (don’t measure! just guess). Cut in half, and then cut each half in thirds, to make 6 equal smaller rectangles.
4. Spoon 1/4 cup (about 4 tablespoons) of the chicken mixture onto one of the rectangles of dough, placing it slightly off center. Wet the edges of the dough with a pastry brush and water, and fold the longer end of the pastry up and over the filling. Press the dough down to seal it, and then crimp with the edges of a fork. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Make two incisions in the top of the pastry with a sharp knife, and brush with the beaten egg and water. Repeat with remaining 5 pastries. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and puffed.
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 stick (112g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup ice cold water
1. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add in the butter, and pulse a few times until the mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse meal. Combine the egg and water in a container (remove all ice pieces). While the processor is running, pour the water/egg mixture in and pulse until mixture just comes together.
2. Pour mixture out onto a floured board and knead a few times to bring all the ingredients together. Dough can be rolled out immediately, or it can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.