Chicken and Ham Pie

12 oz packet frozen short-crust pastry
6 chicken thigh fillets
2 tbsps oil
cup butter1 medium onion, chopped
cup plain flour
1 cups milk
1 tbsp seeded mustard
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
lean leg ham, chopped
large red capsicum, finely chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
2 hard-boil eggs, quartered
12 oz packet frozen puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1. Preheat oven to moderately hot 400F/210C.  Brush a deep, 22cm/9inch round fluted flan tin with melted butter or oil.

5. Heat butter in medium heavy-based pan.  Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes or until onion is soft.  Add flour and stir over low heat for 1 minute or until mixture is lightly golden.  Add milk gradually to pan, stirring until mixture is smooth.  Stir constantly over medium heat until sauce boils and thickens; remove from heat.  Stir in mustard and cheese; cool slightly.  Add the ham, capsicum, spring onions, and chicken to sauce mixture, season to taste; stir gently until well combined.

2. Roll short-crust pastry out on a lightly floured surface large enough to cover base and sides of prepared tin.

3. Ease pastry into tin.  Cut a sheet of greaseproof paper large enough to cover pastry-lined tin.  Spread a layer of dried beans or rice evenly over paper.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Remove from oven; discard paper and beans.  Return pastry to oven for a further 8 minutes or until lightly golden; cool.

4. Trim chicken of excess fat and sinew.  Cut into 2 cm pieces.  Heat oil in a heavy-based frying pan.  Add chicken and cook in small batches over medium heat until lightly browned and cooked through; drain on paper towels.

6. Spoon half the mixture into the prepared pastry case.  Top with quartered eggs, then remaining chicken mixture. Shape mixture with a large spoon, forming a rounded top.

7. Roll puff pastry out on a lightly floured surface, large enough to cover top of pie.  Brush edge of cooked pastry shell with beaten egg.  Top with puff pastry and press down edge to seal; trim.  Brush top with egg.  Decorate pie with trimmings from pastry, if liked.  Reduce oven temperature to moderate 350F/180C.  Bake 45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.  Serve hot.

Variation: Cooked, lean bacon can be substituted for ham in this recipe. Cooked chicken, such as steamed or leftover roast, can be used instead of thigh fillets. Remove any skin, bones or gristle, cut into 2cm/1inch pieces and use as directed.

Hint: Accompanied by a dollop of sour cream, a sprig of a fresh herb and a warmed bread roll, this pie becomes a dress-up lunch dish. Serve with a chilled white wine.

     Serves 6.