This pie uses a whole chicken, and cooking it produces a fine
broth that forms the sauce. There will be leftover that you can
freeze for future soups.
2 tbspolive oil1(1.8kg) chicken, cut into 8 pieces6thyme sprigs2fresh bay leaves100 gmbutter, coarsely chopped2onions, finely chopped2carrots, finely chopped100 gm(2/3 cup) plain flour1/4 cup eachfinely chopped flat-leaf parsley and tarragon 1 tbspfinely chopped lovage or celery leavesFor brushing:eggwashTo serve:Dijon mustardCornmeal pastry690 gmplain flour90 gmpolenta250 gmbutter, finely chopped
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat, add chicken and brown all over (4-5 minutes). Add thyme, bay leaves and 2 litres cold water, bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until chicken is tender (40-45 minutes). Drain liquid into a bowl and reserve 500ml (freeze remainder for another use.). Cool chicken, then coarsely shred flesh (discard skin, bones and sinew) and refrigerate until required.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and carrot, sauté until tender (8-10 minutes), then add flour and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add reserved cooking liquid a little at
a time, whisking to combine, then stir continuously until mixture boils and thickens (3-4 minutes). Add shredded chicken, stir to combine, then add herbs, stir and season to taste. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until required.
For cornmeal pastry, combine flour and polenta in a bowl, and rub in butter until just combined with streaks of butter still visible. Make a well in the centre, add 350ml cold water and mix to incorporate, then knead until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (at least 1 hour).
Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out two-thirds of pastry on a lightly floured work surface to a 5mm-thick round and line a 20cm-diameter cake tin, allowing edges to overhang a little. Roll out remaining dough to a 5mm-thick round large enough to fit on top of cake tin and set aside.
Spoon filling into lined cake tin, then fold edges inward and place pastry lid on top, pressing to seal. Cut a small cross in the middle of the pie, brush top with eggwash and bake until golden brown (1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes). Cool slightly before turning out onto a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature with Dijon mustard on the side.