Chicken & Leek Pie
This is a recipe I kinda-sorta came up with myself one evening when faced with that eternal dilemma: what the hell can I make with a tray of chicken thigh fillets that I haven’t made hundreds of times before?
(When I say that I “kinda-sorta” made it up myself, what I mean is that I drew on my experience of various combinations and permutations of similar ingredients and just, I don’t know, came up with a … remix? Mashup?)
Now, I know I’ve been going through the basics of making your own pastry, but that doesn’t mean I militantly never use frozen pastry. Bugger that, I’m human, too, and there’re inevitably those days when I just can’t be arsed. With days like that in mind, I always keep a reserve of frozen puff pastry sheets in the freezer: they’re a great standby, and really not all that bad.
What do I need?
- 2 sheets of frozen puff pastry
- Olive oil
- 750g – 1kg of chicken thigh fillets
(I prefer thigh fillets because they’ve got a stronger flavour than breast fillets – and they’re cheaper!)
- 2-3 rashers of bacon
- 2 leeks
- Sprigs of thyme or 1/2 to 1 smallish tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- 1/4 cup of plain flour
- 1 cup of chicken stock
- 1/4 cup of sour cream (or a bit more, if you like)
- A small handful of fresh parsley
What do I do?
Put the frozen puff pastry sheets aside on the bench. They’ll easily thaw there, while you prepare the filling.
Cut the chicken fillets into good-sized chunks, about 1 or 2 cm (1/2” – 3/4”) or so.
Heat a pan to medium-high. Slosh in a good splash of olive oil, and then brown the chicken pieces, stirring them occasionally.
Once the chicken is browned, reduce the heat slightly and add the bacon, leeks and thyme. Fry until the leeks are softened.
Add the wine and cook until the wine is mostly evaporated.
Sprinkle the flour over the contents of the pan, then stir it through until it’s smoothly mixed.
Add the stock and sour cream. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens.
Chop the parsley and stir it through the contents of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, and leave it to cool slightly.
Trim the sheets of pastry to fit a 20-25cm (8”-10”) pie dish. Use a sheet of pastry to line the dish.
Fill the pie with the contents of the pan.
Brush the edge of the pastry with some milk, then place the second sheet of pastry over the top. Press firmly around the edges to seal the pie.
Cut some slits in the top of the pie to let out the steam.
You should have some odds and ends of pastry left over from when you trimmed the sheets to fit the pie dish. Cut some of these into leaf shapes, to decorate the pie with: people – kids especially – get a kick out of little things like that.
Brush the top of the pie with some milk or egg white for a glaze, and bake it in a moderate (180°C/350°F) oven for about 20 mins to 1/2 an hour, until the pie is nice and golden.