Chicken & Leek Pie with Chestnut Pastry

Posted: Jan 20 2015

Warm up with this perfect wintery pie which uses chicken and sweet leeks, and a deliciously simple chestnut pastry.


2 rashers of streaky bacon, finely chopped
½ bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
olive oil
2 kg leeks, washed, trimmed; white end chopped into chunks, green end finely sliced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
800 g cooked chicken, torn into big chunks
2 heaped tablespoons plain flour, plus extra for dusting
2 pints chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
500 g puff pastry
12 jarred or vac-packed chestnuts, roasted and peeled
2 sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked
1 free-range egg, beaten

Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas 5.
Put the chopped bacon into a large lidded pan on a medium heat and add your thyme leaves. Add a glug of olive oil and let it all fry off a few minutes. Add the prepped leeks and fry them for about 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper then put the lid on, turn the heat down to medium and let them cook away gently for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes to make sure they don't catch. 
When your leeks are ready, add the chicken and stir. Add the flour, mix well then pour in your stock and stir again. Add the crème fraîche then turn the heat up and bring everything back up to the boil. Have a taste and add more salt and pepper if it needs it, then turn the heat off. Pour the mixture through a sieve over a large pan and let the sauce from the mixture drip into the pan while you prepare your pastry.

Using the largest Falcon Enamel pie dish (30cm). Dust a clean surface and a rolling pin with a bit of flour and roll your pastry out so it's about double the size of your dish. Crumble the chestnuts over one half of the pastry then tear a few of the sage leaves over the chestnuts. Fold the other half of pastry on top then roll it out carefully and evenly so you have a rectangle big enough to cover your baking tray.

Spoon the thick leek mixture from your sieve into the pie dish and spread it out evenly. Lay your pastry on top, tuck the ends under then gently score the pastry diagonally with your knife. Using a pastry brush paint the beaten egg wash over the top of your pastry. Put a pie funnel in the centre of the pie dish surrounded by the mixture and cut a hole in the lid for it to poke through - this will prevent the pastry from collapsing and allow steam to escape from the middle of the pie when cooking. Pop the pie in the oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. When the pie is cooked, re-heat the sauce you strained off earlier and serve with your pie, along with some peas tossed in butter, lemon, salt and pepper.
(Adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe)