Creamy chicken, leek, bacon and thyme pie
- November 2010
- Makes 2 pies. Each pie serves 6
- Takes 30 minutes to make, 2 hours to cook, plus chilling
This creamy chicken pie recipe with leeks, bacon and thyme is a hearty classic. The recipe is enough to make two pies – one to eat now and one to freeze for another day.
- 40.3g (19.4g saturated)
- 37.2g (4.2g sugars)
- 1 large (about 1.7kg) free-range chicken
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 3 onions, cut into wedges
- 1 bouquet garni, made of 1 celery stick, 2 fresh bay leaves, small handful each of fresh lemon thyme (reserve some extra leaves) and parsley, tied together with string
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 leeks, thickly sliced
- 300g smoked bacon lardons
- 150g unsalted butter
- 150g plain flour, plus extra to dust
- 100ml crème fraîche
- 2 tbsp grainy mustard
- 1 large free-range egg, beaten
- 2 x 375g sheets ready-rolled all-butter puff pastry
- Place the chicken in a large heavy-based saucepan or flameproof casserole over a high heat. Add the carrot, 1 onion and the bouquet garni. Pour over enough cold water to cover the chicken. Cover with a lid and bring to the boil, then remove the lid and simmer over a gentle heat for 45 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Place the pan back over a high heat, then boil for 30 minutes to reduce to a good stock.
- Meanwhile, remove the meat from the chicken and tear into bite-size pieces. Add the bones to the boiling stock as you go, to enrich the flavour.
- In another large saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat, add the remaining onion and the leek, season and fry for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the lardons, then continue frying until the veg and lardons are golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Strain the stock, discarding the veg and bones. Measure out 1.5 litres stock and set aside. (Cool and freeze any leftover stock.)
- Melt the butter in the pan in which you cooked the bacon, then add the flour and stir to make a smooth paste. Gradually add the reserved stock, a little at a time, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Place over a medium heat and bubble for a few minutes to cook the flour. Add a little more stock if the sauce is too thick.
- Stir in the crème fraîche, mustard and reserved thyme leaves. Season. Add the shredded chicken, bacon, onion and leek. Stir until well mixed.
- Divide the chicken mixture evenly between 2 x 2 litre rectangular pie dishes and leave to cool completely.
- Brush the edges of the pie dishes with beaten egg, place the puff pastry over the top, press down the edges and seal with a fork. Cut off the excess pastry with a sharp knife, roll out on a lightly floured surface, then cut out small leaves to decorate the top of the pies. Make a small hole in the top of each pie to let out the steam (or use a pie funnel if you have one). Place in the fridge and chill for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6. Brush one pie with beaten egg.
- Wrap the other pie in cling film and foil. Freeze for up to 1 month.
- To cook the freshly made pie, place on a preheated baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve with buttered peas.
- To cook the frozen pie, defrost thoroughly overnight, brush the pastry with beaten egg, then bake for 30-35 minutes until brown and bubbling. Serve as in step 11.
Freeze the pie as in step 10. If you don’t have room in the freezer for a whole pie, make the recipe up to the end of step 7, then freeze the cooled pie filling for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, tip into a pie dish and continue from step 9.
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