American Chicken Pie

Do something different with bagels…

This recipe is stolen from my mum and is my all-time favourite dinner. I always request it on a visit home! It’s hard to describe, as it is quite unlike anything else I’ve ever had, but trust me – it’s true comfort food! The bagel topping makes it unique, whilst the filling makes the chicken and carrots gorgeously tender. Although the dish does take a while to cook, it is totally worth it. Furthermore, if there aren’t four of you, the components of the dish can be frozen. Freeze the filling and bagels separately, then just remove from the freezer the night before to defrost before cooking. The butter can easily be made from scratch. I enjoy this meal served with new potatoes and fresh vegetables. A final tip – when serving, if you like your bagels to go soft, as I do, pile the filling on top; if you prefer them crunchy and so you can pick them up, place them on top of the filling!

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • Chicken oxo
  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 100g (4oz) chopped bacon
  • 2tbsp flour
  • 150ml (1/4pt) milk
  • 5 tbsp crème fraiche
  • Italian oxo (or similar)
  • 50g (2oz) softened butter
  • 2 bagels
  • 50g grated cheddar cheese

Method

1. Place chicken and carrots into a frying pan with the chicken oxo dissolved into 450ml boiling water. Bring to boil, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

2. Remove chicken and carrots using a slotted spoon, then boil the liquid vigorously until it is reduced to approx 300ml (1/2 pt). Pour into a jug and set aside.

3. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl with the carrots.

4. Sauté the onion and bacon in the butter then add to bowl by removing with a slotted spoon.

5. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

6. Stir the flour into the butter and cook over a low heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually add the milk and reserved stock. Cook over a medium heat, whisking until smooth and thickened.

7. Add the crème fraiche, season and add to the bowl with the chicken etc. Mix and transfer to an ovenproof dish.

8. For the topping, mix the oxo and butter. Slice each bagel into 4 and toast until golden (keep an eye on these so they don’t burn!) Spread with butter, arrange over the filling and sprinkle with cheese.

9. Bake for 25–30 mins, until crisp and golden. If you think the bagels seem to be browning too quickly, just cover with tin foil for the remainder of the baking time.

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