By guest blogger HELEN ROADHOUSE
I can't think of anything more heartwarming on such a chilly January evening, than to be having pie and mash for dinner. That was the plan and Kevin 'Gingerkid' White had a couple of tempting recipes for us to prepare. So we cracked on with the pastry as that needed to be chilled for rolling out and then got on with creating the roux for the pie sauce base. We could use this base for both the mushroom and spinach pie as well as the chicken and tarragon pies. This was made with melted butter, flour, veg stock and the secret ingredient of creme fraiche.
Kevin had roasted up a couple of chickens so they were stripped down into big chunks, Kevin was keen that the pieces stayed large and were not chopped up small. The spinach was wilted down and squeezed of as much water as possible. As Kevin demonstrated, there was always more water to be squeezed out as it needed to be as dry as possible before going into the pie filling. Soon the room was full of garlicky mushroom cooking smells. Mmmmm!
Kevin provided the individual pie tins and pastry was rolled out and tins were lined ready for the fillings. The tarragon was chopped and some Stilton and grana Padano grated for the fillings. The pies were not over filled else they would leak, and the pie crusts were egg washed for shine plus a few had some personal decorations from participants for identification when cooked, then this batch of pies was popped in the preheated ovens for half an hour or so.
The second batch of pies were constructed while the first were browning beautifully. The best bit was seeing the proud cooks retrieving their golden creations from the ovens, then piling up the plate with mash and devouring! Even better was knowing that a second mouthwatering delight was crisping up to perfection in the ovens to be taken home to show off to family or, quite likely, not make it past the carpark out!
Janet, Tom and Gina said that the pie base sauce was something they had not done before. Mel and Steve found learning how to cook the mushrooms up for the pie filling particularly interesting. I think one of the most important parts of pie making, the pastry was an aspect that Andrew, Mel and Steve learned as they had made it before. Gina said she really enjoyed that she was making the pies and not just watching a demo plus she (and I suspect everyone else too) really enjoyed the sitting down and eating what they had produced.
Every single participant said that they would be making these pies again at home. Who can blame them, they were absolutely delicious!
See the CGF Facebook page for more photos of the pie-making session.