10 March 2015

IHCC's Mystery Box - Bacon, Leeks, Thyme

Chicken + Bacon + Leeks + Thyme = Tasty Supper

Tonight, I'm cooking with Nigel. It's been a busy day and I have need of one of his comforting dishes. I love going to his BBC video feed and listening to him gush his way through making his simple and satisfying fare. Tonight's supper went together fast but was just a bit fussy ... all about the organization. I love the way Nigel organizes his construction of a dish ... he's very time efficient in how he presents the prep tasks and cooking instructions. The other thing I love about Nigel is his urging that each dish is a basic construct; it's up to each home cook to take his basic dish and make it their own.

This dish starts with four inexpensive pieces of chicken, and plenty of herbs and spices.

I took his chicken and leek pie and added sprigs of thyme, white wine, and copious black pepper to make a gorgeous little pie that I served with maple glazed roasted carrots. The whole time I was prepping the pie, I was thinking about finally finishing up my scrappy Desert Stars quilt face. I've been at this latest for the past few weeks, so today was the day to get the final claret border put onto the outer edges and get it ironed and ready for the quilter. I won't lie. I toasted myself with a big old glass of wine , as I put the pie together and peeled carrots.

Give the chicken, onions and herbs and spices a poaching bath of milk.

Spring is coming on strong and soon I won't want to be in the sewing room, so I'm on a tear. I've been trying to get my wintertime quilting/piecing projects done for the season. Soon, it will be all about gardening and spring cleaning the grey cottage and getting outside in the sunshine.

This afternoon, in fact, I went with SB over to Laurel Lake and went snowshoeing with our friend, Barbara. The ice is still thick, but the snow atop the lake is getting 'corny' from the stronger sunshine that's bringing on Spring melt. We kidded about when we think the ice will go out and marveled that we were walking out over the lake, where we're usually kayaking. The views were spectacular and we could see different views of Mount Monadnock, which still is topped with a lot of snow.

Crisp up bacon slices, and saute the leeks in the bacon fat and just a bit of butter.  Add the flour and the milk from the poaching process to make a really thick  slurry. Chop the poached chicken and add it in. Roll out puff pastry and brush with egg wash. Mound up chicken, bacon, and leek slurry and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. Pop on another rolled sheet of puff pastry. Crimp it. Brush it with egg. Bake it. Eat it. It's really that simple!

Thanks, dearie! You've done it again!

A busy day of voting in town elections, doing the marketing, kibbitzing at the public library, finishing the quilt face, and getting some outdoor exercise. I was ready for a hot supper and some feet up time! I must be getting old! I don't have the vim and vigor I used to have - I look forward to my time in the evening with a book, the computer, a glass of wine, and some music on the CD changer. 

Beautiful crisped crust, a moist herb-y filling, super moist chicken and bits of salty bacon. What's NOT to like ? To boot, there are leftovers!

Chicken and Leek Pie
a Nigel Slater recipe


2 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
2 chicken legs
8 peppercorns
½ onion, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
milk (enough to cover chicken pieces)
6 slices of smoked bacon, cut into postage stamp-size pieces
2 tbsp. butter
2 leeks, sliced into ½ inch discs
3 tbsp plain flour
3 tsp Dijon mustard
2 large sheets of puff pastry ( Pepperidge Farm packet)
1 egg, beaten, for glazing
Optional: Parmesan, grated, for topping

Making the Dish:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 ° F.
2. In a saucepan add the chicken, peppercorns, onion, thyme leaves and bay leaf.
3. Cover with milk. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
4. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in the butter. Add the sliced leeks and allow to soften.
5. When the chicken is cooked remove from the milk and flake the chicken meat into the pan with the leeks, discarding the bones and chicken skin.
6. Add the flour and cook for two minutes before adding the milk through a sieve to remove the peppercorns and bay leaf.
7. Add the Dijon mustard. Stir constantly to make a thick sauce.
8. Roll out the sheets of puff pastry to rectangular shapes that measures about 10 x 12 inches.
9. Lay one sheet on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Brush the edges with the egg wash.
10. Lay the filling on the pastry sheet, sprinkle on some additional thyme leaves and plenty of black pepper, and then cover with the second sheet. Seal and crimp the edges.
11. Brush the pie with a beaten egg, poke steam holes and slash the top in a cross hatch pattern. Sprinkle the grated Parmesan over the top.
12. Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes.

This week's I Heart Cooking Club is all about mystery box ingredients.  The challenge is to choose a dish that includes three of the ingredients from this week's list. Then, one can make a dish from any of the IHCC's chefs' repertoires. Hence, Nigel for me and who knows who for our other club cooks! Check out the link to see what everyone else chose!

PS --- So here's the finished quilt face for one of the quilts I've worked on this winter. It's an Ohio Star pattern with a 16-block offset square. With the colors I chose, I've come to think of it as Desert Stars. I asked for help with the choice of border colors and backing design from fellow quilting friends and have chosen the claret border and a blue chambray backing with an accent stripe of the same calico that will be the binding strip that will go around the finished edges of the quilt ... it's a work in progress, folks! Stay tuned ....


  1. wrap myself in that beautiful quilt and eat my way through that glorious pie... am I in heaven? I think so!

  2. Both the quilt and the pie look beautiful. I'll leave the quilting to you and give the pie a try!

  3. The top photo is absolutely gorgeous! There's no better comfort food than a savoury pie.

  4. Hi Susan,
    Your pie looks delicious! I've made one of his leek pie too, and my kids are asking for the leftovers the next day!
    That is one beautiful quilt! I am feeling so guilty looking at your beautiful quilt! My unfinished quilt has been in the box for years! Time to take that out and get on with it...well, as soon as I can find the time!!

  5. That quilt is beautiful! As is the pie.

  6. Pie looks splendid. I am tempted to attempt that beauty.

  7. Everything is better with bacon! This pie looks and sounds amazing.

  8. Great use of the MBM ingredients. Your pie looks lovely and your quilt is beautiful. ;-)

  9. That pie looks fantastic. Nothing better than pie no matter what the weather.

    That quilt is gorgeous. I made a quilt once. Found out it just wasn't my thing. But I am proud of the one I made.


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