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Back to Basics - Comforting Pies

Monday, 25 January 2010

Roll up your sleeves and get back into the kitchen and back to basics

Every Monday in January we will have Kevin going back to basics with simple easy to do recipes. This week Kevin is in to make some delicious comforting pies from scratch. Last week he made some warming breads and the week before, soups!

Kevin Dundon Proprietor of Dunbrody House

Kevin Dundon is the Chef/Proprietor of Dunbrody Country House Hotel & Restaurant, located in Ireland's sunny South East. Dunbrody was established in 1997 by Kevin and his wife Catherine and has very quickly become a must-see for all foodies. It is now considered to be one of Ireland's Premier Hotels & Restaurant. Kevin's runs a cookery school at the hotel as well which already recognised as one of the most respected in the country.

Dunbrody is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of The World and Ireland's Blue Book. The hotel has won numerous awards including Restaurant of the Year 2004, 2005 & 2006, Chef of the Year in the Food and Wine awards 2004, 2005 & 2006, Andrew Harper's Grand Award 2001 for the best Hideaways in the World, Irish Bacon Dish of the Year 2000, Country House of the Year 2001 (Georgina Campbell's Hotel Guide) , Country House of the Year 2001 (National News Paper) Evening Herard RAC Gold Ribbon Award & Three Dining Awards and Red Chateau for the Michelin Guide, to name just a few.

Kevin started his career in Dublin, Ireland in a restaurant called The Old Schoolhouse and continued his studies at Dublin College of Catering where he graduated in 1986. He received a scholarship to work in Switzerland and worked in Zurich in a well known restaurant called La Mère Catherine.

From there, Kevin took a position on Wind Star Sails cruise ship on its maiden voyage from Le Havre, France to the Caribbean. His next position was as Sous-Chef in Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Canada where he represented Canada in culinary competitions in the US, Luxembourg and the culinary Olympics. Kevin also completed his Master's Degree in Canada and received honours in Chef de Cuisine in 1992.
Kevin has cooked for many well-known celebrities during his career including the Her Majesty, the Queen, President Bush and Bono. In 1994, Kevin was head-hunted back to Ireland as the Executive Head Chef of the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin, widely recognised as one of the most prestigious Chef appointments in Ireland.

Over the past few years Kevin has steadily built his media profile and has appeared on numerous TV channels including ESPN Cable, CBC (Live) Canada, RTE (Live) Ireland and No Frontiers Travel Show. In autumn 2002 Kevin featured as Expert Chef on Ask Anna Series by Stopwatch TV for RTE. He is also a regular on Irish radio.

More recently he appeared on the NBC Today show live on St. Patrick's Day while in New York, representing the Face of Irish Food. During summer 2002 Kevin and Dunbrody Cookery School were the main feature for Hip Productions travel series 'Hip World', broadcast in April 2003 on the US Travel Channel. In addition to this Kevin has made a series of appearances at UKTV Food's Great Food Live, BBC 1's Saturday Kitchen and The Today Programme.

In 2003 Kevin was contracted by MGM Grand in Las Vegas to be the Signature Chef in their Irish pub/restaurant, The Nine Fine Irishmen, which has since been the recipient of numerous excellent reviews and awards. In 2004, Kevin filmed no less than 12 VTs for BBC Good Food Live. 2005 was a very successful year for Kevin whose media profile soared with his role as resident chef of RTE's hugely popular The Afternoon Show every week.

In addition to this, Kevin has also regularly appeared regularly on TV in Nevada, US to promote the restaurant. He has also made appearances on Sara's Secret Food Network and Dinner and a Movie.TSB This year , Kevin has filmed a one hour documentary for an NBC prime time show.

Though Kevin's media profile continues to flourish, he still remains passionate about his role as a Chef and is Chef/Patron of an Irish Gastro Pub in Disneyland, Orlando called Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant. A second gastro-pub is opening in Disney, California in 2007.

His first book, Full on Irish, was published by Epicure Press in 2005. Kevin's writing extends to journalism as well and he has written for BBC Good Food Magazine and Delicious among others.
Kevin and Catherine have three Children; Emily, Sophie and Tom. Most recently Kevin was seen on the hit culinary series-Guerrilla gourmet with a host of other famous Irish Chefs.

Kevin has a regular column with the Irish Independent Newspapers where he imparts all of his culinary tips.

Interesting facts on Pies

. The first pies, called "coffins" or "coffyns" (the word actually meant a basket or box) were savory meat pies with the crusts or pastry being tall, straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids.

. Historians have recorded that the roots of pie can loosely be traced back to the ancient Egyptians during the Neolithic Period or New Stone Age beginning around 9500 BC. The Egyptians would fill their pies with such ingredients as honey, fruit and nuts.

. Oliver Cromwell banned the eating of pie in 1644, declaring it a pagan form of pleasure. For 16 years, pie eating and making went underground until the Restoration leaders lifted the ban on pie in 1660.

Pie Personalities:

If you love.

. Apple Pie - Independent, realistic and compassionate
. Pecan Pie - Thoughtful and analytical
. Chocolate Pie - Loving
. Pumpkin Pie - Funny and independent

Creamy Forest Mushroom & Free Range Chicken Pie

. 4 large chicken breasts-diced
. 1 leek-thinly sliced/1 large onion
. 7oz/200g forest mushrooms
. 3 cloves garlic-crushed
. 1oz/25g butter
. 1oz/25g plain flour
. 2oz/50g grated cheddar cheese
. 1/2 glass white wine
. 14floz/400ml milk

. 1 sheet of puff pastry-ready rolled.

1. Heat a large shallow saucepan with the butter (and a little bit of oil to stop the butter from burning).
2. Add in the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add in the leeks, garlic and mushrooms at this stage together with a little seasoning.
3. After a further 5 minutes sprinkle in the flour and use this to dry up any liquids in the pot (and thicken the sauce), Pour in the white wine, cheese and the milk at this stage and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil whilst stirring all the time. If you like you could add a little cream as well.
4. Simmer for 5-6 minutes and then transfer to a large casserole dish.
5. Neatly arrange the pastry on top.
6. Brush the pastry lightly with a little egg wash glaze and bake in a preheated oven (190C/375F/Gas Mark 5) for approximately 30 minutes.

Apple Pie - Deep Filled Apple & Sultana Pie

Short crust Pastry
. 12oz/350g plain flour
. 6oz/175g hard butter
. Pinch of Salt
. 1 level tablespoon of tablespoon sugar
. Ice cold water (6-8 dessertspoons-approx)

. 4-5 cooking apples
. 2oz/50g sultanas
. ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
. 3oz/75g caster sugar

. 1 egg
. 100ml milk

1. Begin by making the pastry. Sieve the plain flour into a large mixing bowl. Add in the pinch of salt.
2. Cut the butter into pieces and add this to the flour and salt. Using the tips of your fingers rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
3. Add in the sugar at this stage also. Next mix in the water, gradually, until the mixture all comes together into a ball. Kneed lightly to achieve a smooth pastry and then wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour but for longer if time will allow.
4. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3
5. Roll the pastry out to line a quiche dish or a large tartlet plate. (Approx 9-10Inch)
6. In a separate bowl mix the sliced apples, sultanas, sugar and cinnamon together.
7. Pour this mixture into the centre of the tartlet and cover with another sheet of pastry.
8. Make up the egg wash glaze by mixing the egg and milk together.
9. Brush this over the top of the pie and if you have some scraps of pastry left over you can roll them into thin pieces of pastry and cut out some leaves.
10. Bake the pie for approximately 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and well cooked through to the centre.
11. When the pie comes out of the oven sprinkle with caster sugar and serve.