Domestic Sluttery is changing! Visit our new homepage to check out our fabulous makeover.


Thursday 6 September 2012

Sluttishly Savoury: Huffed Chicken... 4½ Ways!

Sussex does a lovely line in foods with funny names - churdles, heavies, lardy johns - but my favourite of them all is huffed chicken. In fact, its name alone was enough to make me want to make it for our Sussex Week extravaganza. And I’m so glad I did, because it turns out this sage, walnut and apple-filled chicken pasty is a veritable cornucopia of moreish flavours.

I turned my nose up at first at the use of suet pastry. I think I may have been borderline suetphobic before huffed chicken came into my life, but oh my, I’m a convert now. The pastry was so easy to get right, and baked to a perfect golden brown.

There aren’t a lot of recipes for huffed chicken on the internet. In fact, I could only find one, courtesy of Recipe Circus. I used it as my guide, but in grand Domestic Sluttery style, I tweaked and experimented to my heart’s content to bring you a whopping 4½ slightly different ways of making huffed chicken. You’ll find the traditional method below, as well as ways to make the pastry and stuffing more exciting.

Huffed Chicken (serves 4)
You’ll need:

For variation #1 (the basic recipe)
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 175g vegetable suet
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and finely sliced
  • 30g walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • A large glass of ice-cold water
  • A pinch of salt and pepper 
  • 2 tbsp milk
For variation #2 (sage pastry)
As for #1, plus:
  • 2 extra tbsp sage, chopped
For variation #3 (cider-infused pastry)
As for #1, plus:
  • 3 tbsp dry cider
For variations #4 and #4½ (using pears and Stilton pastry for an EVEN GREATER taste sensation)
As for #1, plus:
  • Substitute 1 medium-sized pear for the apple
  • A generous slice of Stilton, crumbled 
Make It!

Variation #1:
This is traditional huffed chicken, as eaten in Sussex in ye olde days.
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Make a slice lengthways into the side of each chicken breast, in which to stuff apple slices, chopped walnuts, and sage.
  3. Sift the flour into a large bowl, and add the suet, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Add the cold water splash by splash, using your hands to eventually form a smooth, elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. Suet pastry needs more water than normal pastry, so don’t be afraid to add more water than you’re used to – just go slowly. The suet granules won’t dissolve, so don’t try to knead them out – you’ll end up overworking your pastry.
  5. On a lightly-floured surface, roll the pastry out into four circles, approximately 8in in diameter.
  6. Brush the visible faces of the pastry circles with Worcestershire sauce.
  7. Place each chicken breast on to a circle and fold the pastry over to make a half-moon shape. Pinch all around the edge to seal.
  8. Place on a baking tray, glaze the pasties with a little milk, and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
Variation #2:
Make your huffed chicken as above, except before you roll out your pastry, add in two tablespoons of sage to the dough.

Variation #3:
Follow the steps for variation #1, but substitute three tablespoons of cider for some of the water when kneading your dough. The rest of the bottle is Chef’s Reward™.

Variation #4:
Use a pear instead of an apple. At the pastry-rolling stage, make a ball with your dough and roll out once. Sprinkle the crumbled Stilton over the pastry, and roll it into a ball again. Then continue with the basic recipe from step 4 above.

Variation #4½:
Instead of using the Stilton in your pastry, stuff it in the chicken breasts along with the sage, walnuts, and pears. Use traditional plain suet pastry here – there’s enough going on inside the chicken!

I thought at least one of my experiments would be a failure, but happily I was wrong. The stand-out for me was the sage pastry, but I really enjoyed them all. Laura's Adventures In Suet are sure to continue, but in the meantime, let's try to bring this long-forgotten Sussex delicacy back into mainstream cookery.


  1. This looks fantastic. I'm a bit scared of suet as well.

    1. They seem to love their suet in Sussex, though!

  2. This is genius Laura! More ways of doing stuff, more! Looks super tasty as well, woof.

  3. Looking forward to more suet recipes, it's my favourite! Mmmmmmm x


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...