I admit that there’s not much original about combining chicken, bacon and leek in a pie filling. However, I do think that this succeeds where so many others can trip up: it’s just as nice in the depth of winter as it is in the height of summer.
This balance between comforting and light is achieved by the way it’s prepared. Poaching the chicken breasts in with the vegetables and stock keeps it moist and stops any flavour from escaping. It also removes the need for any additional butter, cream or cheese – great if you’re trying to watch your weight. Indeed, this was a method that I first encountered in a recipe by Angela Nielsen for BBC Good Food whilst I was on a pre-wedding diet a couple of years back.
If you’re really trying to cut out on all the naughty foods you could just make the chicken filling and serve it as a light summery stew. I’ve done that before – with some mashed potatoes and a dollop of low-fat crème fraîche…
Not that I think you should serve it without a crust. I think there’s a lot to be said for the colour and texture that’s provided by a pastry topping. Here I’ve used a pre-rolled puff pastry sheet, but you could also use shortcrust or even filo if you prefer. Whatever you choose you’ll still get the pleasure of that crisp pastry and tender filling that make pies so wonderful.
And on that note… I know that there are some who would say “that’s not a pie, it’s a casserole with a pastry lid”. Frankly that works for me as it allows me to get a pastry hit and keep dinner a little healthier. If you’d prefer to go full pastry then be my guest. Just make sure you let me know how it works out and whether it was worth the extra effort.
I should also mention that this is one of a few recipes on the site that make enough to feed four people – most of the others are for two. Just bear that in mind if you choose to scale things up or down. I always make the filling to this recipe and freeze half for another day.
It’s a nice treat to find at the back of the freezer in a few week’s time. Especially as it can be converted from freezer to table with minimum effort.
Chicken, Bacon and Leek Pie
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 8 Rashers of Back Bacon cut into thick strips
- 1 small Red Onion peeled and finely chopped
- 300 ml good quality Chicken Stock
- 50 ml Vermouth or White Wine
- 1 clove Garlic peeled and crushed
- 3 sprigs Thyme
- 125 g Carrots cut into discs
- 1 pinch Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breasts 150g each
- 150 g Leeks washed and thinly sliced
- 100 g Chestnut Mushrooms sliced
- 1 tbsp Cornflour slaked in 1 tbsp Cold Water
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 3 tbsp Crème Fraîche
- 150 g Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
- 1 tbsp Milk melted
- Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and chopped red onion and fry for 5-10 minutes, until the onion is tender and the bacon cooked through. Stir regularly to ensure that the onion doesn’t burn. When cooked, remove from the pan and put to one side.
- Pour the stock and wine into the same pan, then add the thyme, garlic and carrots. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Season the chicken breasts then add them to the pan. Cover and poach for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the sliced leeks to the pan, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until tender, then add the mushrooms before removing the pan from the heat. Keep it covered and put to one side for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to develop and the chicken to gently poach.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and cut or tear into bite-sized pieces. Strain the vegetable mixture through a sieve – retaining both the stock and vegetables separately. Put the chicken pieces and vegetables into an oven-proof dish, along with the cooked bacon and red onion.
- Pour the liquid stock back into the frying pan and place on a medium-high heat. Add in the cornflour and water mixture and stir well. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat then add the mustard and creme fraiche before seasoning to taste. Pour the thickened sauce over the chicken and vegetables, then stir until well mixed.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
- Place the rolled pastry over the top over the top of the oven-proof dish and crimp at the edges. Brush with the milk then place the dish on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until the pastry is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||10||g|
|of which Sugars||6||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|