A Pre-Match Meal: We open the oven with Arsenal fan Mike Meehan, owner of The Pie Cart, to create the perfect pre-match pie
Ingredients (to make two large pre-game Chicken Balti pies):
1 whole cornfed free range chicken
1 large white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 red peppers, diced
2 green peppers, diced
1 finger of ginger, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
50g butter for cooking
50g white flour
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 large tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 1⁄2 litres chicken stock
1 roll good quality butter puff pastry
For the sauce:
Season the chicken with salt, white pepper and rub the skin with 50 grams of butter. Splash a little olive oil on the skin, place in a roasting tray and put into the oven for approximately 1 hour 20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.
Once the chicken is cooked, leave it to cool. Make the Balti sauce by sweating the onions, garlic, ginger and peppers with chilli in a large pan for 4 minutes, with olive oil and a 50 gram knob of butter. Add tomato paste and stir. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring throughout.
Add all the spice ingredients and then the chicken stock. Slowly bring the mixture close to the boil and simmer gently for 25 minutes until thickened.
While the sauce is cooking, carefully strip the meat from the roast chicken – no skin or bones please! Use your fingers to gently pull the chicken into soft strips. Add this meat to the Balti sauce once it is off the heat, and stir thoroughly. When it has cooled, the pie filling is ready.
Grease two pie moulds or baking dishes with butter, and dust with flour to stop the pastry sticking. Roll the pastry until it is 2 millimetres thick, then lay it into mould and cut it, leaving an overhang from the edge of the mould. Brush the overhanging pastry with egg wash.
Fill to just below the top of the mould. Cut a top for your pies using the remaining pastry and lay onto the base, using your thumb to crimp the pastry edge to leave a clean and joined edge. Brush the top with egg wash, prick 3 or 4 times with a fork, then bake in medium-hot oven, at 180 degrees celsius, for 30 to 40 minutes.
Cool, and cut into slices to serve.
This recipe first appeared in Issue Three of The Green Soccer Journal, Winter 2011/12