One of the starters on my Christmas Eve dinner table were these sausage meat pies, among several other bit size goodies! Usually we make these little delicious pies with chicken but I though that sausage meat would be tastier. And I wasn’t wrong, the seasoning in the sausages made the pies really delicious.
These chicken pies are very popular in Portugal and you can find it in almost every cafe. We eat in all sorts of occasions: breakfast, lunch, snack, you name it. No one is sure of the origin of these savory snacks. It is said that a baker from a small town in the south of France decided to try a combination of wheat flour and butter. The result of the mixture was not what he expected as it wasn’t binding. Since he could not shape the dough as it would brake when it was handled, he decided to use a small cake tin that was in his bakery. With his fingertips he made a thin layer of the dough on the bottom and sides of the tin and placed a stuffing of chicken.
When the first batch was ready he realized that the dough was fine, but the filling was very dry. He decided then to put a lid made with the same dough. The result was astounding and everyone who tasted it was amazed by the softness and taste of the dough, slightly buttery and that melted in the mouth.
The news spread throughout the city and everyone wanted to savor the “crust” of crumbly dough and chicken stuffing. The success was so great that he could not take care of the requests, since it was very laborious and time-consuming to produce them, for they were molded by hand, one-by-one, in a craft process.
Another baker saw the potential of the new product and decided to enter the market. But when he realized the work and preparation time that such a brittle pie required, he had the idea of using an adaptation of the traditional bread dough recipe. Because of its elasticity one could open it with a roll and put it on several molds at the same time. This way, productivity increased significantly and the product became extremely popular.
Instead of making the traditional dough and rolling it out, I found a recipe that makes it all much easier. The dough is made with eggs and beaten egg whites which makes it more liquid. The dough is then put onto the molds, next the filling and on top more dough. Then it’s cooked and you can see the result: meat in the middle and the dough perfectly cooked around it. Really nice for dinner parties 🙂