A couple of summers ago, we made the move to Perth for six months. We arrived in August, and it rained for six weeks. Not drizzly depressing rain, but full on rain with fat drops. The sort of rain that makes doing the laundry impossible.
Aside from Bismarck who was busy at work, we were all a little miserable. No1 struggled to make friends at his new school, and had to learn to stand up to some bullies. I missed my friends back in Sydney, and the rest of us made do, except No2 who charmed his way to being the most popular kid at school. But then, like magic, the rain stopped and we settled into life, making new connections and enjoying our adventure.
The sky turned bright blue, and the rain stayed away for the rest of our time there. Four and a half months with not a drop of rain. We got so used to hot dry summer days, that when we arrived back in Sydney in March on an overcast day, No3 said “why is the sky white in Sydney world?” “Those are clouds, kid!”
One of the real joys that I discovered in Perth was a beer. Not just any beer, but a refreshing crispy beer that was perfect for the hot, windy, dry weather. LittleCreaturesPilsner. To me, this beer feels like summer. Picnics in the yard, barbeques, laughter on the beach as waves crash in. It has that right balance of freshness, yet is hoppy enough prevent the blandness that is often associated with paler beers.
When it was suggested that we do a pie and beer match, I said “let’s do my favourite beer” not thinking that pie isn’t really a summer thing. But it’s autumn now, and for me, the perfect autumn pie that compliments a summer beer is chicken, leek and my secret ingredient brussel sprouts. It has those creamy notes that are comforting when the wind is cool, and the brussel sprouts add a nuttiness that goes with a beer that evokes the memory of the summer that is now waning.
This recipe is great for a working night as it can be made in two half- hour sessions.
Chicken and Brussel sprout pie
Little Creatures Pilsner
- 2 sheets Puff Pastry
- 700g Chicken
- 18 Brussels Sprouts
- 1 Leek
- 300ml Cream Pepper
- Tabasco Sauce
- Handful of Flour
Cut the brussel sprouts in half. Heat up a large frypan and add a dash of olive oil. Lie the brussel sprouts in the pan, flat side down and leave them on a medium heat until they go very brown (almost burnt). While they are cooking, cut up your chicken into cubes. I’m not very precise about this, and quite like them to be random looking, not in actual cubes. Each one should be about the size of a 20cent piece (but cubed). On a dry plate, place a handful of flour and add a good amount of pepper. Roll the chicken pieces in the flour so they are nicely coated.
Once your brussel sprouts are brown, but not burnt, remove them from the pan and put them in a (non-plastic) bowl. Add a bit more oil to the pan and throw in the chicken pieces. Turn the heat down and cook the chicken through. As they cook, chop one leek. Once the chicken is cooked, remove them from the pan and add the leek, the cream and a few splashes of tabasco sauce. Now add the chicken and the brussel sprouts back to the pan and let them cook down for a bit. Remove from the heat, let it cool down and place in the fridge until you are ready for session two. I cooked session two on the night before, but you could do it on the weekend if that suits your life better. It probably freezes well also.
This can be done in the evening when everyone gets home from work and it’s all crazy. We have a system that seems to be working at the moment. Everyone has a list of tasks to compete on arrival home (shoes on rack, empty bag) which takes about ten minutes. Then we have free time until I start cooking, at which time homework commences. This session takes about half an hour. Heat up the proceeds of session one and place into an oven dish. Cover with flaky pastry. The packet recommends defrosting it first, and that does make it easier to work with, but if you forgot to take it out of the freezer in the morning (like me), just bung it on anyway. I used the extra bits that hang over the edge to make a cute little word for the top which the kids thought was funny. Make sure you poke a few holes in the pastry for steam to escape and bung the whole thing in the oven at 180oC for half an hour.
While that cooks, and if you are keen, you can make these super easy milk buns. They serve as a cheap, but tasty, side for the hollow legged growing people. They take about three quarters of an hour, so if you start them before you start session two, it’ll work out nicely.
- 2.5 Cups Flour, plus a bit extra for dusting
- 1 sachet yeast (7g)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2/3 cup milk
- 3 tblsp sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter
Put the yeast and warm water into a big bowl. Add a pinch of the sugar and stir together. Leave for 5 minutes until foamy. Add the flour, the rest of the sugar, salt, warm milk and egg. Knead it all together. It’s a bit of a sticky dough, so it might need a dusting with extra flour to stop it sticking the bowl once kneaded together. Add the butter and knead again.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it near the oven in a warm spot for about half an hour until it has risen to almost double the size.
Remove the dough from the bowl and split into small balls. I made 16. Roll each ball into a nice lump and place on a baking tray. I covered my tray with baking paper to make the clean up easier. Leave for a few minutes. If you can manage 15 minutes, that’s awesome but don’t worry, they are still good without that, and easily achieved while being distracted by children who need help with a range of mad ideas. “Mum, how do you make windows?” “Mum, I want to change my middle name to Truck Guy.” “Mum, why has Dad put blocks on the internet? I need to find out about convict crime and it won’t let me.”
Put the buns in the oven on the shelf above the pie and cook for 10-12 minutes. If you have made them nice and small, they will cook faster.
Serve the pie with Little Creatures Pilsner and a sprig of parsley, and break open the fresh buns and add butter.
The idea for this set of recipes from Renee and Scott came about when we were invited to participate in a monthly link up party, Our Growing Edge (May 2015) hosted by Jordan and Cindy from my Daughter and I, an event that aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things.
If you want to check out the other pie matched with the Little Creatures Pilsner, Chef Scotty B’s Chicken, leek and mushroom pie.