This is another quick weekday supper, ideal if you’ve got some leftover cooked chicken from a roast. It’s good hot or cold.
The fastest way to make this is to put just a top crust on the pie. If you’d like a bottom crust too, essential if you’re planning to eat it cold, you will need to cool the filling before assembling the pie. If you prefer, you can make them into individual pies as shown here, which is really nice for picnics.
You don’t have to use tarragon but it goes so well with chicken and adds such a warm, subtle, gently aniseedy flavour that it’s a shame to leave it out.
Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie
200g cooked chicken, cut into large bite-sized chunks
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
100-120g mushrooms, thickly sliced
6 baby leeks (or 2-3 large ones), washed, trimmed and sliced into rounds
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
250 ml chicken stock
Cornflour to thicken
A big handful of chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon or 1 tspn of dried tarragon
Oil, salt and pepper
A splash of double cream
1-2 sheets of ready-rolled puff or shortcrust pastry (depending on whether you want a crust on the top only or on both top and bottom)
Beaten egg to glaze
Heat a splash of oil in a deep frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft and golden.
Add the mushrooms, leeks and garlic and sauté until the leeks have softened but still hold their shape.
Add the chicken and stir through gently.
Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, mix a dessertspoon of cornflour with a little water and use it to thicken the sauce, stirring well.
Add the herbs and cream, season to taste and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the flavours have melded and you have a thick sauce. Don’t stir too hard – you want the chicken and leeks to remain in chunks, not reduced to a slurry.
If you want to make a double crust pie, cool the filling. Otherwise, just put the filling in a pie dish and top with a sheet of ready-rolled pastry.
Decorate it it with any trimmings, glaze with beaten egg, slash a hole in the top for the steam to escape and cook in a preheated oven at 400F/200/Gas Mark 6 for around 25-30 minutes, until the filling is hot and the crust golden.
For a top and bottom pie, preheat the oven as above and put a baking sheet in to heat up.
Line your pie dish with one sheet of pastry, run some egg wash around the outer edge, spoon in the cooled filling, pop on the pastry lid and crimp the edges.
Decorate, glaze and bake for around 25-30 minutes, by which time the base should be cooked through contact with the hot baking sheet and the top crisp and golden.