The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

Jo Macsween’s Mungo pie.

This fast pie is but a simple variation on a basic British chicken and leek pie, but simplicity can be ingenious. All you do is add haggis to the base filling. That is appropriate because the recipe is adapted from Jo Macsween’s charming Haggis Bible. Unfortunately and ironically the biblical telling is incomplete because Macsween forgot to tell her reader what to do with the haggis, which represents the archangel of this particular testament. Four servings.


Scotland_Haggis_Bible_cover001.jpg

For the sauce:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour (preferably Wondra)
  • 6 oz white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 heaped Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper

 

For the filling:

  • about 1 Tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 lb boned & skinned chicken thighs cut into fairly large chunks
  • 2 minced shallots
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, split lengthwise and cut into thin crescents
  • ½ lb haggis, skinned and crumbled

 

For the topping:

  • a sheet of puff pastry (thawed from storebought frozen is fine)
  • a beaten egg

 

  1. Make the sauce by melting the butter, whisking in the flour to form a paste and dribble the wine into the roux, whisking constantly
  2. Stir the cream into the sauce, bring it to a boil, reduce the sauce to a simmer and let it thicken, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir the parsley into the sauce.
  4. Make the filling by setting a heavy skillet on high heat: add the oil and let it shimmer.
  5. Toss the chicken into the skillet to barely just cook it. Remove the chicken.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the shallots until they clear and soften, then add the leek and let it soften as well (you may need a little more oil at some point in this step depending on the fattiness of your chicken).
  7. Turn off the heat, return the chicken to the skillet, add the haggis and mix everything together.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

  1. Let the filling cool, then mix it with the sauce and check the seasonings.
  2. Pour the filling inot an appropriate pie dish and top it with the pastry, crimping the edges with a fork pressed at right angles to the rim.
  3. Paint the pastry with the egg and bake the pie until gold and bubbly, usually in about 40 minutes.

 

Notes:

-Macsween specifies tarragon instead of parsley, which is the traditional French herb for chicken. Because the ‘Auld Alliance’ is a culinary humbug and we do not like tarragon, we prefer the parsley. Besides tarragon does nothing for the haggis.

-Your haggis ought to be Macsweens’ but if you live in the United States will not be Macsweens’ because the imbecilic FDA bans the importation of all haggis. Deent domestic brands, however, are to hand, at British specialty grocers like Myers of Keswick in the West Village of Manhattan and all over the internet.

-Your haggis should boast high seasonings of allspice and black pepper with tones of a little clove. If your haggis is bland, judiciously add all three to the sauce at the end of Step 1.