Food and drink

Chicken and Leek Pie

Now we’re almost done with spring and hurtling headlong towards summer it’s time to get the lighter recipes on the go. Out with winter casseroles and comfort food, in with salads and spring greens. One veg that’s abundant in spring is the humble leek. There are loads of great uses for this relative of the onion but I really love it in a simple chicken and leek pie.

This recipe is based on one I found on the ever useful BBC Good Food site, though I’ve changed the quantities, swapped single cream for double, thighs for breast and added some lemon.

The tarragon and the creamy sauce with the leeks and juicy chicken topped by golden puff pastry is wonderful. A total classic. The lemon lifts up the flavours to another level, definitely a worthy amendment.

These freeze really well, just take them out of the oven halfway through cooking the pastry (so it’s puffed up but not yet fully coloured) so the pastry doesn’t get overcooked when reheating.

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Makes 4 individual pies, or one large one.

Puff pastry
5 chicken thighs, chopped into bite size chunks
2 leeks, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
200ml chicken stock
150ml white wine
130ml single cream (or double if you prefer)
Small bunch of tarragon, chopped (about 2 teaspoons worth)

Start off by seasoning, then browning the chicken thighs in large pot (in batches if space is a bit cramped) then remove and place them to one side.
Turn down the heat and gently fry the leeks and onion until soft.
Add the chicken back into the pot along with the garlic and cook for a further two minutes.
Deglaze with the wine and simmer until it’s reduced by half.
Add the stock, tarragon and zest of the lemon.
Simmer until it’s reduced by half again.
Pour in the cream and continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened.
Check the seasoning and put the pot to one side to cool.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Roll out the pastry and cut out to cover the individual pie tins or one large pie tin. The pastry should be slightly larger than the tin.
Spoon the filling into the tins and cover with the pastry.
Brush the pastry with egg wash or milk, cut a small slit in the top to let steam out and place in the oven for 20 mins (individual pies) or 40 mins (one big pie) until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve with spring greens and mash.

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