I discovered a roll of ready-made puff pastry in the fridge this afternoon. The addition of a couple of organic leeks, and some chicken breasts was all I needed to throw this handy little pie together.
This recipe will feed 4-6 people, so there was far too much for just us two. However, I made the full recipe and will use the remainder as the base for a chicken cottage pie during the week.
- A large deep frying pan.
- A medium saucepan
- a pie dish – this can be something like a lasagne dish if you’re feeding a crowd, or the smallish oval dish that I used today
- a measuring jug, or some other method of telling you how much is a pint!
- 3-4 uncooked chicken breasts
- 2 large leeks
- 1 medium onion
- 100g chopped bacon, or lardons of pancetta
- dessert-spoon of butter
- 1-2 tablespoons of plain flour
- 500mls of hot chicken stock
- a splash of white wine (optional)
- a couple of bay leaves
- A grating of fresh nutmeg (optional)
- 2-3 tablespoons of cream
- pack of ready-rolled puff pastry
- an egg, lightly beaten.
- Chop and carefully wash the leeks, then finely chop the onion
- Heat a tablespoonful of oil in the pan, add the bacon pieces and cook until crispy. Add the onions and leeks. Give it a good stir, then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and allow to soften but not colour. Stir occasionally.
- While this is happening, put the trimmed chicken breasts, stock, white wine, bay leaves, and nutmeg into a saucepan and allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken from the stock, and leave to one side to cool slightly. Drain the liquid into a jug.
- Increase the heat slightly under the Leek mixture.
- Sprinkle over the flour, and reduce the heat again.
- Make sure that the flour is well combined with the leeks, and allow it to cook gently for a minute or so.
- Add 1/3rd of the reserved stock, and stir in; add the remainder and continue to stir – it will all start to thicken very nicely into a lump-free white wine sauce.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the leek mixture in the pan.
- Mix everything together well, and cook until the chicken has been reheated.
- Remove from the heat, allow to rest for a few minutes, then add the cream.
- Put your chosen pie-dish onto a baking tray and pour in the creamy chicken mixture.
- Paint the edge of the pie dish with some of the beaten egg.
- Unroll the puff pastry, and place over the dish. Press down gently onto the edge of the dish -(or if the edge of the dish is very thin, just tuck it neatly into the dish).
- Trim the excess, paint with the beaten egg.
- Do fancy and artistic things with pastry cutters. Or be like me – just stab it a couple of times and shove it into the oven (the sooner it’s cooked, the sooner I can have my dinner, right?)
- Cook it for 25 – 30 minutes at 180, or until the pastry is a lovely golden colour, and the filling is bubbling away merrily..
- We like it served with creamy champ and petit pois
- If you haven’t any leeks, virtually any vegetable will do – think Mushrooms or peas or French beans, but probably not Turnip or Parsnip – they’d take far too long to cook – unless you want to pre-cook them of course..
- Anything with a pastry lid is always going to be a treat – it makes even a midweek dinner a special occasion!