Throughout his childhood, whenever my son was asked what he would like for dinner, his choice would almost always be Chicken and Leek Pie. Not Chicken and Mushroom, not Chicken and Vegetables, it had to be Chicken and Leek. The mild onion flavour of the leek, combined with the chicken and a creamy white sauce, all steaming hot in a crisp butter pastry crust is, I’ll agree, a delicious combination. These days, thankfully, his palate has matured and he is a little more adventurous though he still loves his Chicken and Leek Pie. Now that he (occasionally) cooks for himself he has also realised how easy it is to make. Here’s the recipe.
Chicken and Leek Pie
For the pastry:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup SR flour
pinch of salt
125 g butter (chopped into small cubes)
1/2 cup water
For the filling:
600 g free range chicken breast fillets (cubed)
2 leeks (washed, trimmed and finely shredded)
2 tbs flour
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried thyme (use a sprig of fresh if you have it)
100 g butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 a freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of all spice
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the pastry: Sift flour, add salt, rub in the butter lightly with the tips of the fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the center and add water. Bring together to form a firm dough leaving the sides of the bowl clean. Refrigerate for 30 mins. Roll 2/3 of the pastry out and line the bottom of a pie or flan dish. Blind bake on the middle shelf of a 200 c oven for 15-20 mins. Remove and allow to cool. Roll out remaining piece of pastry and set aside for the top of the pie.
For the filling: Melt butter in a pan until bubbling, add leeks. Fry until translucent. Add chicken, dried herbs and spices, toss for 1-2 mins. Reduce heat, sprinkle flour over the chicken, cook off flour for 1-2 mins. without browning Gradually start adding milk, stirring all the time, then add chicken stock. Stir through Dijon mustard. Simmer for five minutes or until sauce has thickened. Season to taste. Allow to cool.
Fill pie crust with the chicken mixture. Cover with pastry top and glaze with egg wash (1 egg whisked with a little milk). Cook in a 220 c oven for 15 mins. Turn and reduce heat to 180 c. Cook for a further 30-45 mins or until the crust is golden brown.
It is all right to use frozen pastry sheets if you are pressed for time, the result is still pretty good. You can also make little individual pies in ramekins with pastry just on the top.