Chicken and Yogurt Curry Pie

If you got tired of all the desserts I publish, this post is for you. Rather than a sugar-filled concoction, here is a wonderfully vibrant and flavoursome pie made entirely out of puff pastry. On that note, I strongly suggest you make your own puff pastry. Once you got the hang of it, whipping up a batch only takes a couple of minutes. The lengthy process as far as this pastry is concerned is the chilling and the resting, but if you have a very busy schedule or a life full of important events to attend to, puff pastry is not a needy lover and only requires a couple of turns every hour or so. Worst case scenario, you could always do it over two or even three days. After all, the more it rests, the better the end result will be.

This recipe comes from a truly inspiring book I recently bought on a very rainy December afternoon when I was in need of comfort (some people turn to cake, I usually make it). The book is called Pie and is by Dean Brettschneider. What I love about it is the fresh take on some classics, like tarte tatin or a simple pie, and the fact it provides plenty of suggestions on how to turn a standard and plain puff or shortcrust pastry into something completely new by adding a few extra ingredients. When you are making this, the longer the chicken thighs get to marinate, the more intense their flavour would be. Therefore, make sure to start your pie the day before by simply marinating the meat overnight.

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Ingredients

  • 350g puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp freshly minced ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 300g thick Greek yogurt
  • 4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 800g boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 large bunch of coriander, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 medium egg (for the glaze)
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil

Method

  1. Divide the puff pastry in two portions: set aside two-thirds for the base and use the rest for the top. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger portion to the thickness of a pound coin and use it to line it a 23cm fluted tart dish (about 3cm deep).
  2. Roll out the remaining pastry for the top of the pie to a circle slightly larger than the pie top. Set aside on a baking sheet, cover both with clingfilm and set aside in the fridge.
  3. To make the filling, puree together the ginger and the garlic with the yogurt to make a smooth paste (I did it by hand because I use already chopped ginger and I just finely chopped the garlic). Stir in the ground spices and salt, then place the chicken thighs in a large glass bowl and pour in the marinade. Stir to combine, then cover with clingfilm and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
  4. When your meat has marinated long enough, heat some olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion and the chilli (leave the seeds in for extra heat!) until soft. Add the tomato puree and cardamom seeds, then cook for another minute.
  5. Add the chicken and its marinade, then turn up the heat and cook until the watery curry becomes creamy (about 15 minutes).
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the coriander, lemon juice and seasoning to taste, then cook until the curry has dried up and is creamy but not too liquid. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
  7. Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
  8. When ready, spoon the filling onto the puff pastry base, then brush the rim of the pastry case with beaten egg and drape the remaining pastry over the tart dish. Press the pastry together to seal, then trim the edges.
  9. Brush the top with egg wash, then use a sharp knife to make 4 or 5 slits in the top to allow the steam to escape during baking.
  10. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until nicely golden on top and the sides of the pie have raised from the tart dish. Remove from the oven, leave to cool slightly, then unmould and serve while warm.

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