Salt. Compared to the delicious range of spices, salt can seem a little uninspiring. When opening a tub of eat. Art Nasi Goreng or Argentinian Chimichurri, you are instantly inspired by the exotic and the delicious. Salt, by comparison, can seem a little uninspiring. Or so we thought.
Apart from their different colours – ranging from the pure white of the Cyprus Flake to the rusty red of Hawaiian Red Alaea and blush of the Himalayan Pink, we didn’t know how we would be able to differentiate them.
We then opened a few and started sniffing and feeling – the immediate smokiness of the Applewood Smoked Salt was phenomenal and will soon feature in its own recipe. Some were hard, some flakes bigger than others – but our current favourite is the Murray River Salt Flakes. A beautiful flake, with a gentle saltiness and beautiful ‘crumble’ – it’s the perfect table salt and wonderful for cooking.
Served alongside a traditional (but no less delicious) chicken pie, serve it whole at the table and allow family to cut their own slice – and season at will.
Chicken Pie with Sour Cream Pastry
For the pie:
3 chicken breasts, on the bone
1 leek, finely sliced
125g mushrooms, finely sliced
125g bacon, cubed
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp liquid chicken stock
For the pastry:
125ml sour cream
200g butter, chilled
To make the pastry, add the diced butter to the flour and process in a Food Processor or Blender until it resembles breadcrumbs – alternately, do this by hand. Add the sour cream and process until it forms into a ball. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge until needed.
Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the chicken stock and the chicken – on the bone but skin removed. Reduce heat to a bare simmer, cover with a lid and allow to poach for 30 – 40 minutes until the chicken is cooked and tender.
While this is cooking, add the butter to a frying pan on a high heat and fry the bacon, mushrooms and leeks – until well cooked and starting to brown.
To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. When the butter has melted, add the flour to the bowl and whisk until a smooth paste is formed. Add a little milk if the paste is too thick. Continue adding the milk until the mixture is smooth with no lumps. Add the stock from the chicken poaching liquid and return to the microwave – microwave on high for two minute at a time, whisking in between, until the sauce is thick and bubbling. Add the cream, thyme and season to taste.
Remove the chicken from the bone and shred. Add to the white sauce, along with the bacon and mushroom mixture. Taste for final seasoning.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll until approximately 5mm thick. Cut to fit the base and sides of a 24cm pie or cake tin. Fill with the chicken mixture, and top with another disc of pastry. Pinch the edges closed with your fingers and cut off the excess.
Bake for 30 – 24 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and golden.