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Chicken and Leek Pies

This recipe is a cross between Jamie Oliver’s Rabbit and Leek Pie from Jamie’s Great Britain and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Chicken and Leek Pasties from River Cottage Everyday, with a couple of twists of my own. The leeks make these pies lovely and sweet, and they are always a huge hit.

Make 10-12 pies (each pie serves approx 1).

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Dice 2 chicken fillets into 1cm cubes (they are easiest to dice while still slightly frozen), or cut up the meat from a pre-cooked roast chicken. If using the chicken fillet, place a good lug of olive oil in a fry pan on a medium heat, then add the chicken with a good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper. Cook for around 10 minutes, until cooked through and going golden.

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While the chicken is cooking, finely chop 3 rashes of bacon, 3 medium leeks and an onion. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and place it in a clean bowl. Add a nob of butter to the fry pan (still on a medium heat!) and add the bacon, onion and leeks, along with 3 springs-worth of thyme leaves, or a good shake of dried thyme leaves. Let this cook for around 10 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until the leeks and onion soften and become silky and gorgeous. Add 150mL thickened or double cream. Stir it through, then allow the leek and cream mixture to bubble away and thicken for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. After 5 minutes, add the chicken, a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, around 2 cups of frozen peas and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Stir to combine.

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Now to make your pies (I really hope this all makes sense!!). Have 5-6 sheets of de-frosted squares ready rolled puff pastry. Cut them in half from corner to corner, creating two right-angle triangles. Place your triangles on a tray lined with baking paper, with the right angle on your right (see picture below). Place one large serving-spoonful of the chicken mix in the middle of the triangle. Pull the corner on the bottom left across to the right-angle corner, and crimp the edge. Add another half serving-spoonful to the pastry, and pull the top corner down to the right-angle corner. Crimp the edge, and pat down the top, so there are no gaps.

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You can fit four pies to a tray.

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Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180°C/375°F/Gas Mark 4 for around half an hour, or until the pastry is crisp, puffed and golden.

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Serve immediately. Any leftover pies can be stored in the fridge for a couple of days, and, though the pastry goes a little soggy, are great re-heated for lunches.

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