Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Olympic Food Challenge: Botswanan Chicken Pie - Botswana

With four competitors in two disciplines at the main London 2012 Olympics, Botswana managed to gain a silver medal in the Men's 800m.  Unfortunately, Botswana had to pull its team from the 2012 Paralympics due to financial irregularities in their Olympic Committee.

Moving swiftly on to the food (sorry for the short post), Botswana has its own unique cuisine, but is also influenced by its neighbouring countries.  Having already made Pap and Chakkalakka (just because I liked the name) when I did Lesotho, and lacking a three-legged iron pot (commonly used for cooking), I plumped for Botswanan Chicken Pie as chicken cooked for a guest shows special hospitality.

Sadly I had no guests and I was just cooking for myself.  The appeal in this recipe was that it was for individual pasty-style pies so I could make just one.  I must confess I cheated a little as I was trying to hone my pastry making skills which leave a lot to be desired (see the Apple and Rhubarb Pie and Quiche Lorraine trials) and so I'd a piece of Dan Lepard's Shortcrust Pastry lurking in my fridge instead of the pastry recommended by the recipe.

Whenever I make pastry, it's too short and consequently crumbles everywhere.  As a last resort, I put my faith into Dan.  This is the best pastry ever.  He recommends using half butter and half lard.  I didn't have any lard so went with the 'you can use all butter' caveat and it turned out to be the tastiest, butteriest pastry I have ever had the pleasure to eat.  I expected nothing less and yet again, Short and Sweet delivered.  Miss A even now refers to Short and Sweet as 'Mummy's favourite recipe book' even though I have never uttered these words in her presence.  I'm pleased her two-year-old mind is capable of forming such opinions already.

As for the pie filling - it's a mix of chicken, apple, onion, tomato and currants.  If it wasn't for the OFC, I never would've tried the sweet and savoury thing.  But I was amazed at how much I enjoyed it.  It just worked.  The recipe mentions the filling as being a little dry so I roasted a chicken breast at 190c fan for 17 minutes so it was barely cooked.  I immediately chopped this and popped it into the pan to fry, thus finishing the cooking and stopping it from being too dry in the finished product.

Do try these. My picture is a bit rubbish as I wanted you to see the filling of the pasty and the crisp pastry meant it shattered perfectly, but wasn't very photogenic!

You can find the recipe for the pie here and watch Dan making one of his shortcrust pastry recipes here although I used his basic eggless pastry from Short and Sweet.

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