What’s your favourite pie? Well if it’s Homemade Chicken and Leek Pie stick around folks because I have a recipe for the best ever Chicken and Leek Pie. It’s creamy. It’s tasty. It’s comforting. What’s more, it’s super easy, easy enough that you can even whip up a homemade pie on a weeknight. Okay, it uses bought pastry but the rest of it is homemade and how often do you have the time (or desire!) to make homemade puff pastry, lets be honest.
After each of my son’s were born my kitchen turned into a bit of a ghost town. This usual hive of activity was sitting there unused with dust and mothballs gathering in the corners (luckily at only 1.9 square metres this wasn’t too much extra dusting for me)! I was tired, I was exhausted and I had absolutely no time to be cooking. Despite this all I desperately wanted was home cooked meals – what a conundrum! Don’t you just love that word? It seems like there are so many places popping up at the moment that sell home cooked meals that you can buy like takeaways but at the time I thought they were too expensive and even the thought of going out before dinner to get a meal seemed too much effort. So instead my husband and I seemed to eat a lot of pies. I’m not talking those horrible over processed ones with the mystery meat filling but the ones with the lovely homemade-like flaky pastry and delicious real fillings. They were easy because we could just pick them up with the supermarket shopping (or order online which we did most of the time when the boys were very young because even supermarket shopping was far too difficult) then dinner was as simple as popping the pie in the oven and making a quick salad. Voila, homecooked-ish dinner! My boys are now three and one (as of two days ago, how they’re growing up) and I have a little bit (emphasis on the little) more time in the kitchen. I still want quick and easy weeknight meals but I like to make a little more of it myself because (a) it’s cheaper, (b) less processed and (c) tastier!
Without a doubt when we were buying pies my husband’s favourite was always the Chicken and Leek, which is ironic for a man who is all about the red meat – I swear he must be secretly Argentinian. So this is my version of his favourite Chicken and Leek Pie (which is now his new favourite). Like I said, it’s quick and easy because although the filling is completely homemade I cheat a little with the pastry and buy readymade. When you are buying the pastry I do urge you to buy good quality butter puff pastry when you can afford it because I guarantee you will taste the difference – it is so much better! But I understand that there are times when you can’t so any puff pastry works just as well (or if you have the time this Rough Puff Pastry is pretty good too). The filling is quick to make and sometimes what I like to do is make it the night before, put it in the fridge, then assemble the pie and cook it the next night. The filling is also seriously tasty. There are so many good flavours that go into it think chicken, smokey bacon, leeks, mustard, tarragon, butter and thyme all in a creamy, chicken-y sauce that it is so good I have been known to just eat spoonfuls of the filling while I’m cooking and serve up a somewhat skinny looking pie. Speaking of skinny, there’s no cream in this creamy pie my friends (just don’t think about the butter puff pastry too much).
- 500g/1 lb readymade flaky butter puff pastry
- 1 tbsp butter
- 4 rashers bacon, finely chopped
- 500g/1 lb chick thighs, chopped into bite size pieces
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only
- sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 50g/1.8oz butter
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ cup milk
- 2½ cups chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp dijon
- 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 Tbsp fresh tarragon
- ⅓ cup flat leaf parsley
- 1 egg
- Roll out the pastry (if you’re not using ready rolled) then line a medium size pie dish with half the pastry. Allow to rest in the refrigerator.
- You can now choose to make a lattice top of just place the other half of the pastry on top of the pie and piece a couple of steam holes in the centre with your knife.
- If you have time to allow the filling to cool for 30 minutes then make this lattice top while your sauce is cooking otherwise make it now. We only want the lattice top to spend about 30min-1 hour in the freezer so it’s firm but not frozen and brittle.
- Cut the other half of the pastry lengthways into various width strips. Place a piece of baking (parchment) paper on a baking tray then weave the strips into a lattice top, cutting some pieces in half to form the horizontal pieces. Place baking tray in the freezer while you make the filling. This allows the lattice top to firm up so it is easy to transfer to the top of the pie.
- In a large fry pan (skillet) heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until almost crispy. Remove and set aside on a paper towel.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cook until almost cooked through (we will finish cooking it in the sauce later) and browned on all sides. Remove and set aside with the bacon.
- Chop the leeks in half lengthways then finely slice. Wash sliced leeks very well to remove all soil and grit then add to the pan with a good pinch of sea salt, some cracked pepper and thyme and and cook over low heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Remove and set aside with the bacon and chicken.
- Melt 50g/1.8oz butter to pan then add flour. Using a whisk, stir until it makes a paste then cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the milk whilst continuing to whisk to ensure no lumps form then add all the chicken stock. Turn heat up to medium and allow the sauce to thicken slightly for 3-5 minutes whisking occasionally.
- Once the sauce is starting to thicken stir though the mustards and return the bacon, chicken and leeks to the pan. Allow to cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the sauce is a thick enough consistency for a pie and the chicken is cooked through. Stir through the tarragon and parsley then remove from the heat.
- If possible allow the filling to cool for 30 minutes, but if you don’t have time then it is fine to add the hot filling to the pastry but the pastry won’t be quite as crisp on the inside.
- Spoon the filling into the pie case you have made then place the lattice top on top pushing down around the edges to seal it. Crack the egg into a small bowl and add 1 Tbsp cold water. Lightly whisk then brush over the pastry with a pastry brush. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry has puffed up and turned golden. Remove and serve with a green salad or some cooked greens.