Chicken and ham Christmas pie

Buttery pastry and packed with flavour, the perfect sustenance to perk you up post-Christmas.

600 g home-cooked ham
600 g boned weiht of chicken thihs, skinned
800 ml chicken stock
4 tsp. chopped parsley
100 g cranberries
200 g cooked chestnuts
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 gelatine leaves
200 ml water
170 g lard
450 g plain flour
1 free-range egg, beaten

1. Gently cook the onion in the olive oil for three to four minutes until soft.

2. Finely chop or mince a third of the chicken thighs and the ham (you can do this in a food processor if you like) and mix with the chopped onions, cranberries, chestnuts and parsley and season.

3. Slice the ham into slices roughly three centimetres thick. Put the chicken thighs between two sheets of cling film and batter them out with a rolling pin or meat bat to roughly the same thickness as the ham and lightly season them.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/gas mark 6.

5. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Bring the water and lard to the boil in a saucepan then stir it into the flour with a wooden spoon to form a smooth dough. Leave the dough covered for about 15 minutes or so until it is cooler, less sticky and easier to handle.

6. You will need a deep flan ring measuring 18 to 20 centimetres by about seven to eight centimetres deep or a similar sized removable-bottomed cake tin. Lightly grease the flan ring and line the bottom with a disc of lightly greased greaseproof paper. Place it on a baking tray, lined with another piece of lightly greased greaseproof paper slightly larger than the flan ring.

7. Take two thirds of the dough and on a lightly floured table, roll it into a circle about half a centimeter thick and about 25 to 26 centimetres across, so it is large enough to line the flan ring and overlap the edge by a centimetre or so.

8. Making sure there are no holes in the pastry, place the dough into the flan ring, carefully press into the corners and allow it to just hang over the edge. Roll the remaining dough into a circle just large enough for the top and cut a two centimetre hole in the centre.

9. Cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of ham, breaking it into pieces to fill the gaps, then a layer of chicken, again breaking or cutting it to fill the gaps, then a layer of cranberry and chestnut mixture. Keep layering, pressing each layer down firmly.

10. Top with a final layer of chicken and carefully lay the pastry on top. Trim the edges of the pastry with a knife and pinch the base and top pastry edges together with your forefinger and thumb to make a good join. You can decorate the top and edges if you like.

11. Brush the top of the pie all over with the beaten egg and cook for 45 minutes. If it is colouring too much, cover with foil and turn the oven down.

12. Remove the ring and brush the sides and top again with egg before baking for a further 15 minutes until nicely coloured. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once the pie is cold refrigerate for a couple of hours.

13. Meanwhile soak the gelatine leaves in cold water until they soften and squeeze out the excess water. Heat about 60 millilitres of the chicken stock in a saucepan and stir in the gelatine until it’s dissolved then stir that into the rest of the stock. Leave to cool but do not let it set.

14. Once the pie is cold, check around the pastry for any holes and fill them with a little softened butter so that the jelly doesn’t escape. Pour about a third of the stock into the round hole in the top of the pastry a little at a time in case there are any more holes.

15. Return the pie to the fridge for 15 minutes. Repeat with the rest of the jelly until it’s used up.

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