Ok so this weekend past, I finally got around to trying Ludwig’s killer Braai Paai recipe. I must admit, I thought it was going to be a bit of a challenge, but I was pleasantly surprised, to find it was actually very easy to do, and tastes absolutely GREAT!!
2 x Rolls Puff Pastry
200g Smoked Bacon
250g Chicken Breasts (de-boned)
250g Mushrooms Chopped
100g Spinach Chopped
125g Mozzarella Cheese Grated
125g Cheddar Cheese Grated
125g Feta Cheese Broken Up
3 x Packo Chillies Chopped, or any proper chilli, don’t remove the seeds!! (Not on the pic, sorry)
2 x Eggs
2 x Garlic Cloves diced fine
1 x Medium Onion Diced
Some green and red pepper chopped
Rosemary & Olive Spice to taste
Some Olive Oil for frying
Lemon Pepper Spice to taste
Sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
1 x Clamp Grill, but the one with the raised sides (mostly used for fish)
Sprinkle some floor on a flat surface then take your puff pastry and roll it out a bit, both length and width wise. The reason for this is just to increase the surface area a tad, without over doing it of course!! If you roll it out to thin, it is an absolute nightmare to work with, it breaks or rips as soon as you touch it. You’re looking at increasing the size by about a ¼ to a 1/3 of the original size, that should work fine.
In the mean time, spice your chicken to taste and place your chicken breasts on nice hot coals. Yes you could do fry the chicken on the stove, but to me, anything charred grilled on a wood fire, adds a whole heap of flavour to the meat. As soon as they’re done, keep the meat in a warm place somewhere.
Now add some olive oil to a pan and fry the following ingredients all together: bacon, green/red peppers and the chopped onion. Braai until just about done, then add the finely diced garlic, chopped chillies, the rosemary & olive, lemon pepper spices and S&P to taste. Fry for a few minutes more and turn the stove down to a low heat.
Now comes the tricky part. Take a rolling pin or anything round and smooth, rub some flour on it and gently roll the puff pastry up on the pin. Open up your clamp grill and gently unroll it onto the grill. DO NOT TRY LIFT THE PASTRY BY HAND IT WILL RIP, dan is dit ‘n gemors!!!! It’s best to get someone to hold the grill whilst you do this part, it just gives you more control over the pastry.
Grab your chicken and chop it into cubes, try not to make the pieces to big, or it will make the pie to bulky for the grill. Add about ½ of the spinach to the pastry, then layer the chicken and chopped mushrooms evenly across the spinach. Leave an edge approx. 1.5” around the pastry open, so you can fold the edges around when you done adding the filling.
Take your onion/bacon/pepper mix, once again, spreading it evenly across the pie. Take your cheeses, mix them together, and repeat process.
Add the remaining spinach to the top layer of ingredients. Using your rolling pin again, take the 2nd layer of pastry and add it to the whole lot. When done, simply fold the edges over, to form a sealed pie.
Take the 2 eggs and beat them together, after which you paint the pastry with a healthy layer of egg. Now place the painted side facing the coals, then you can paint the other side with the egg wash.
Turning the pie regularly, seems to do the trick well, to get that nice even golden tan on the pastry. What we are looking for is a nice golden brown colour on the pastry, and then we know we’re getting there! After about 15min. or so (depending on the heat of your coals), the pie will be golden brown, remove from fire and let rest for a minute or so.
Using your fingers, gently push the pastry, which got stuck to the grill, downward, to loosen it from the grill. Grab a spare cookie/oven tray, turn it up-side-down over the pie, close the grill again then flip the grill around to get to the other side. Same story, gently push the stuck parts away from the grill and when done, remove the grill from the pie.
And there you have it, a perfect braai paai which I am can assure you, will not touch sides with the family. Mine went down so well with my lot, I was instructed to do another on Sunday!!
POINTS TO PONDER:
- Make sure your pastry has defrosted properly, ells it wil break apart once you start working with it.
- Don’t roll the pastry out to thin, ells the same will happen as mentioned above.
- Don’t try lifting the pastry by hand, it is a disaster begging to happen. Use the rolling pin method.
- Make sure your chicken is braaied throughout. Raw chicken in a pie …….? ‘nuff said.
- Don’t over do the ingredients and make sure the ingredients are spread evenly across the pastry. If there is to much ingredients in the pie, or it is not spread evenly, all that will happen is, as soon as you close the grill, the grid of the grill will slice your mega pie into a whole heap of cocktail pies, which sucks. (That is also why we use the raised side grill. If the pastry breaks or rips, it will cause all the ingredients to fall out of the pie as it all starts cooking, and the ingredients start becoming more liquidy.
And that’s that,
Born up a tree!!!