Niall McKenna's Chicken Pithivier

Serves 4-5


  • 1 small chicken
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme and rosemary
  • For the sauce:
  • 30g butter
  • 30g flour
  • 1/2 bottle cider
  • 250g chicken stock
  • 50g double cream
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • For the mushrooms:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g mushrooms, chestnut or girolles, cleaned
  • 1 sprig thyme, de-stalked
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 packet of butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg, whisked for wash


Begin by cooking the chicken, placing it in a stock pot covered with water.

Add in the onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns and herbs and cover with a lid, bringing it to the boil.

Once boiling, reduce the heat and cook for a further 45 minutes on a medium temperature.

Next, remove the chicken from the stockpot, but keeping the stock on the heat.

Reduce the liquid on the heat by half, and keep for adding to the sauce.

In a separate pot, melt the butter and mix in the flour to make a roux. For one-minute, cook the flour and thereafter, whisk in the cider, reducing it by half.

Add in the chicken stock liquid, cooking it on a high heat until thick. Once thick, add the cream and parmesan, seasoning it with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Next, with the cooled chicken, remove the meat from the bones and shred, adding it to the cream sauce and mixing thoroughly.

For the mushrooms, begin by cleaning the mushrooms before cooking. In the restaurant, we keep a selection of soft paint brushes to dust the mushrooms.

Cook the mushrooms for approximately one-minute.

Melt the butter in a pan, adding in the herbs, garlic and seasoning. Once soft and browned, add to the chicken mix.

Preheat the oven to 190C and place a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray, putting the rolled-out puff pastry on top. Cover the pastry with cling film and place in the fridge to rest. This will ensure that the pastry doesn't shrink.

Using the refrigerated pastry, cut out a circle, using a main course plate as a base guide. Make the second an inch larger as this will ensure that the pithivier will be sealed properly.

Place the chicken mix onto the smaller circle, brushing the disc edge with egg wash. Place the larger circle on top.

Press down on the pastry, removing any trapped air.

To seal, use a pastry wheel to scallop the edge. If you don't own a pastry wheel, a fork will do just as good a job.

Brush all of the pastry with egg wash, and place in the oven for 45 minutes to cook.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

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