Leftover Chicken and Stuffing Pasties

Week 5 of Bake Off saw Pastry Week come to the tent and the bakers showed off their Signature Pasties, went all sophisticated with Salted Caramel and Raspberry Eclairs and tried their hand at intricately decorated tarts topped with a pastry cage! I tried my hand at the signature challenge of making pasties and tried my first savoury recipe for this year’s Bake Along; these are my Leftover Chicken and Stuffing Pasties!

I don’t do much savoury baking so coming up with ideas was a bit of a struggle. I knew I wanted to make some form of pasty and started flicking through my go-to book for ideas about pastry, Michel Roux’s Pastry. In the book were recipes for Cornish Pasties and Beef and Cheese Empanadas and because my dad doesn’t eat beef, I knew these recipes weren’t going to be a good starting point. Talk turned to Christmas and suddenly the recipe inspiration for these pasties came to me!

I thought it’d be great to have a recipe out there that could be used for Christmas leftovers other than just the typical leftover turkey curry or sandwiches. And these homemade pasties fit that category perfectly! Part of the inspiration for my recipe came from the Greggs Festive Bake which has that awesome breadcrumb topping and I take inspiration by sprinkling on some panko mixed with sage and onion stuffing after glazing with egg wash for some added texture.

The filling I’ve given in my recipe below uses fresh onion, carrots and celery but you can certainly replace this with any leftover vegetables from a roast, even adding crushed roast potatoes to bulk out the filling. The base of this filling is a white sauce, cooked in the same pan as the other ingredients to boost its flavour. Butter or margarine is melted and flour added and cooked out to form a roux with milk whisked into the roux slowly until the sauce is creamy and thick. The ingredients are all mixed in this sauce and chunks of sage and onion stuffing are mixed through at the end. I did have the idea to put cranberry sauce inside the pasty when filling it but ended up forgetting it while testing – the pasty still tasted great nonetheless!

The pastry is a pâte brisée which is essentially shortcrust pastry but slightly more delicate and lighter. Compared to a basic shortcrust, this is richer with more fat and uses an egg to bind. The pastry is really easy to work with and works with both sweet and savoury recipes. I use a 13cm bowl to stamp out the pastry rounds for the pasties and use a heaped tablespoon of filling. I leave about a 0.5cm border around the edge where I put the filling so I can brush the pastry with egg wash to help seal the pastry together. Traditionally you might expect crimping but I find that it’s easier and quicker to use a fork to press the pastry together; not only is it easy but it looks good too.

For the pastry:

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter or margarine, cut into small chunks
  • 1 large egg
  • About 1 tbsp cold whole milk

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp oil or butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small stick of celery, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 small carrot, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 150g leftover chicken, shredded or cut into chunks
  • 2 slices of honey roast ham, cut into large squares
  • About 100g sage and onion stuffing, broken up into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • About 200ml whole milk

For the decoration and topping:

  • 1 egg, beaten for glazing and sealing pastry
  • 1 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 25g sage and onion stuffing, very finely chopped

For the pastry, place the plain flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add in the chunks of butter or margarine and using your fingertips, rub together the butter/margarine with the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and some of the milk to help bind. Incorporate the liquids into the dry ingredients until the dough begins to hold together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and use your hands to work the pastry together until it just forms a smooth ball. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and flatten into a disc and chill for at least an hour.

For the filling, in a frying pan, add the oil or butter over a medium heat with the garlic. Heat the garlic until it is fragrant, then add the chopped vegetables to the pan, adding a small pinch of salt to help soften the vegetables. Cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the vegetables have softened, add in the leftover chicken and the chopped ham and cook until everything is well mixed, tasting and adjusting the seasoning to taste. Pour out the mixture onto a plate while you make the sauce.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter/margarine in the same pan over medium heat. Once melted, add in the flour and whisk until the flour has cooked out and a thick paste forms. Gradually pour in the 200ml of milk, adding more liquid once the last batch of liquid has been incorporated but adding more and more each time, whisking constantly until it forms a rich and velvety creamy sauce. Add in the cooked chicken and vegetable mixture and the pieces of stuffing and cooking until everything is hot, tasting and adjusting the seasoning to taste. Transfer the mixture to a plate to cool down.

Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking parchment. Whisk the egg for the glaze and sealing in a bowl and have a pastry brush on hand as well.

Divide the pastry into 2 and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until it reaches 3mm thickness, turning and flipping the pastry regularly so it doesn’t stick to the table. Using a 13cm cutter, cut out rounds of the pastry (you should get 4 or 5 if you are lucky), removing the excess and setting aside to reroll. Place a large spoonful of the filling onto one half of the pastry round, leaving around a half centimetre border around the edge.

Brush the edges of the pastry all the way round and fold over half of the pastry over the filling, pressing down firmly to seal. Using a fork, press down the pastry edges to seal and crimp. Place onto the baking tray, leaving some space between. Repeat using up the rest of the pastry and the rest of the filling. Place into the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Brush the pasties with egg wash all over the surface and in between the crimped edges. In a small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs with the finely chopped sage and onion stuffing. Sprinkle some of this mixture onto the glazed pastries.

Bake the pasties for around 25 to 30 minutes until the pasties are a rich golden brown on top and the bases are nicely browned. Serve the pasties fresh from the oven with some light sides for a great meal. You can store the pasties in the freezer once they have cooled down and baking them at 180ºC for around 15 minutes to reheat them and eat fresh.

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Make sure to check out my other recipes for the Bake Off Bake Along:

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