Monday, 5 March 2012

Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie

Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie
An absolutely delicious and succulent chicken & ham pie - when you need something warm and comforting after a long day, there’s nothing like a proper British pie!

Serves 4-6
Prep time:   15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

450ml/16fl oz chicken stock
3 chicken breasts, skinned
75g/3oz butter
2 leeks, trimmed and cut into 1cm/½in slices
2 garlic cloves, crushed
50g/2oz plain flour
200ml/7fl oz milk
2-3 tbsp white wine
150ml/3fl oz double cream
150g/5oz piece thickly carved ham, cut into 2cm chunks
sea salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
500g/20 oz pre-prepared short crust pastry
1 free-range egg, beaten, to glaze


1.   Place the chicken stock into a lidded saucepan, add the chicken breasts and bring to a low simmer.  Cover with the lid and simmer for 10 minutes, remove the chicken and place on a plate.  Pour the stock into a jug and set aside.

2.   Melt 25g/1oz of the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat, add the leeks and fry gently for two minutes, stir occasionally until softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute and then add the remaining butter and stir in the flour as soon as the butter has melted. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

3.   Gradually pour the milk into the pan, just a little at a time, stirring well between each pour.  Slowly add 250ml/10fl oz of the reserved stock and the wine, stirring until the sauce is smooth and thickened slightly. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

4.  Season the mixture, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Pour into a large bowl and cover the surface of the sauce with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Set aside to cool.

5.  Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Put a baking tray in the oven to heat.
Portion off 250g/10oz of pastry for the lid and roll the remaining pastry out on a lightly floured surface, turning the pastry frequently until around 5mm/¼in thick and 4cm/1½in larger than the 23cm/9inch pie dish. Lift the pastry over the rolling pin and place it gently into the pie dish. Press the pastry firmly up the sides, making sure there are no air bubbles. Leave the excess pastry overhanging the sides.

6.  Cut the chicken breasts into 3cm/1¼in pieces. Stir the chicken, ham and leeks into the cooled sauce. Pour the chicken filling into the pie dish. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten egg. Roll out the reserved pastry for the lid.

7.  Cover the pie with the pastry lid and press the edges together firmly to seal. Trim any excess pastry.

8.  Make a small hole in the centre of the pie with the tip of a knife. Glaze the top of the pie with beaten egg and place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

9.  Bake on the preheated tray in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the pie is golden-brown all over and the filling is piping hot, enjoy!

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