This chicken and leek pie is from Nigel Slater’s cookbook Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes. It’s organized seasonally but also has a good index so you can browse that way if you’d like or use it to find something you read about earlier. I also love his Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food.
The first recipe I tried was for “a hearty pie of chicken and leeks.” In the last Elizabeth George mystery novel I read, one of the characters delivered a chicken and leek pie to an elderly neighbor and I’ve been wanting to eat one ever since!
He has another simpler chicken and leek pie in the same book where you roast the chicken pieces, make the sauce with stock rather than milk, seasoned with fresh parsley rather than mustard and without the cheese on top.
Nigel Slater’s Chicken and Leek Pie
- 1 1/2 pounds of chicken legs and thighs, both on the bone
- half an onion
- 8 whole peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- enough milk to cover the chicken pieces
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 4 slices smoked bacon
- 2 leeks
- 3 heaping Tablespoons flour
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
- a little beaten egg and milk
- Parmesan cheese
- Put the chicken pieces in a saucepan and cover with milk, then add the onion, peppercorns and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer partially covered for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and let it cool a bit, then pull apart into plump pieces. Strain the milk and save it.
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan while you cut the bacon into small pieces, adding it to the pan as you go. Slice the leeks into roughly 1/3″ pieces, washing the pieces well after cutting them. Drain, then add the leeks to the pan. Cook the bacon and leeks about 15 minutes, stirring periodically. They should be totally soft.
- Stir the flour into the bacon and leeks and cook a few minutes. Then stir in the warm milk, enough to make a thick sauce. Add the chicken pieces, then the mustard and salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the filling into a pie pan or square dish. Lay the puff pastry on top and crimp the edges. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg and then sprinkle grated Parmesan on top.
- Bake about 35 minutes.
Leftovers are great for lunch–and breakfast as well according to a friend I shared some with.