Venue: Great North Pie Co, 2A Deanway, Manchester Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 3HW
Date: 20th December 2017
Pie: Roast Chicken and Potato Hash
Pie Temperature: Hot
Are you sitting comfortably?…… Then I’ll begin.
It was a cold Winter’s night just before Christmas, when a very lovely and very thoughtful daughter arrived home from the Christmas Markets with a special present for her Dad. The Daughter hadn’t had to exchange the family Cow for what she held in her hands, but she had been mysteriously drawn to a stall where a couple of Christmas Pixies tempted and successfully coaxed, entice and lured a few gold coins from her MK purse. The Daughter then had to fight her way through hordes of Orcs and Goblins to ride with her prize on a Metal Horse back to the sleepy Shire. Actually, the reality is that the Daughter was mooching about at the Christmas Markets and said “I saw these and thought of you”. Something for which, I was, am and always will be eternally grateful. It’s a good thing I think, when your children take an interest in one of your passions or at least recognise that you have a passion. “What was the present she battled through strange lands to deliver?” I hear you cry. Well may be not, but I suspect you already know………. Pies!
There were two pies, both of which had been purchased from a stall manned by members of the Great North Pie Co.. A very happy and intrigued Dad I was too when they were presented to me as a pre-Christmas treat. I’ve decided to review the pies on separate Blogs if that’s okay with you, but much of the detail with regard to the pastry, as it turned out, is identical.
But before that a little bit about the Great North Pie Co…….
It turns out that the company started out, as may such companies do, in the home kitchen of one time Chef and Bobby, Neil Broomfield. Neil is actively involved in the creating of the Menus and day to day running of the Bakery now located in Wilmslow, Cheshire. All the ingredients in the pies that the Great North Pie Co. produce is sourced locally and only the finest ingredient are used in the pies. There is an attention to detail that is evident when you look at one of their pies. The shape is pretty much perfect to pick up and bite into. The size is governed by the custom made tins, fashioned to exact specifications that Neil had provided creating a pie of a size that enables your average Pie Eater to take a average sized bite. At least that is what I was told and having experienced two pies now I have to agree…. a perfect size. It was also interesting that inside each individually bagged pie was an information sheet that on one side had details of the pies on sale at the stall but also cooking instructions on how to re-heat the pies for the best eating experience. I have to say it was absolutely spot on and the pies in both cases were heated through and piping hot, but the pastry was in no way burnt or hard to cut when it came to the eating. A nice touch I thought.
So onto the pies………
I had a choice of two as mentioned above, a 14 Hour Braised Steak & Ale Pie, and a Roast Chicken with Potato Hash Pie. I decided this particular evening on the Chicken as I was curious about the more unusual filling. That and the fact that it was the first one I took out of the refrigerator. I followed the cooking instructions precisely to heat the pie. Pre-heat the oven and a flat metal baking tray to 180oC, pop the pie on the tray and cook for 18 mins. Nice and simple enough for even me to understand and execute. I’d decided to make a full meal of it so had some creamy mash, mushy peas and chicken stock gravy prepared too for when the pie came out of the oven. Popped them into a dish in a what I described to my wife as a decorative presentation and took a picture or two. The pie was a lovely golden colour, and the pastry was an all butter recipe which I later found out was how all their pies are encased. It was a perfect shape (yes I know I’ve mentioned that before but it was a sight to behold) and has a very very light dusting of breadcrumbs and seasoning on the top which gave it a speckled effect. Cutting into the pie I found a bounteous filling of shredded Roast Chicken and a Maris Piper Potato and Onion Hash all coated in what looked to be a generous velvet coating of Double Cream, Honey and Garlic sauce, season with Parsley, Thyme, Rosemary and according to the aforementioned information sheet, thickened with a little Paxo Breadcrumbs. As you can see from the photographs below, the pie was very well filled and looked very appetising and held together vey well with very little crumbling. I felt it was the type of pie you could pick up and eat without getting too messy even when hot. The pastry was nice and firm, but as I said above not too hard or too crunchy, and it was an extremely tasty pastry too. There was no pastry left over on this pie when I’d finished as it was all the same uniform thickness (or maybe that should be thinness), so no top edge tooth breaker here from the Great North Pie Co.. The filling was as it looked, delicious. Beautifully seasoned and left you wanting more. There was plenty of Roast Chicken, with just the right amount of Potato and Onion in the Hash filling. It was definitely a Roast Chicken and Potato Hash Pie, not a Potato Hash and Roast Chicken Pie. The sauce was a dreamy, creamy, velvet delight, wonderfully complimenting the Chicken Hash and suffice to say the dish was empty far too soon.
The Great North Pie Co has won several awards from 2009 to present day and as their recipes change and new Pie-tastic creations are offered up by Neil and the team I suspect a great many more will be winging their way for years to come.
Lifting words directly from a song from one of my favourite bands (although clearly not written about pies)….…… I Just Can’t Get Enough!
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