Read on for my recipe for chicken and leek pie
This is British Pie Week so it would be rude not to feature a pie recipe, and you know me, never knowingly rude and all that. Anyway what pie to make, it had to be my favourite, chicken and leek pie.
Not just chicken and leek pie
Of course there are other goodies in this pie. I’ve got mushrooms, a clove of garlic, Greek yogurt, feta cheese and half a bottle of cider in there. Oh yes and the leeks and chicken too of course.
British Pie Week
British Pie week was started to celebrate all that is good about the great British pie from steak and kidney or chicken and leek to that great family favourite the humble apple pie.
What is a pie?
A pie by definition is a dish that has both a pastry base and a pastry top. So even though we call things like pumpkin pie a pie, strictly speaking they are not because they don’t have a pastry lid on top.
Pies go right back to Roman times when oysters, meat, mussels or fish were encased in hard pastry cases for the Roman soldiers to carry while marching. The pastry cases then were actually inedible and merely a way of encasing the food to make it easier to carry, saving having to carry plates etc.
Fun pie facts
- The most expensive pie ever sold was in 2005 at Fence Gate Inn where a pie sold for £8195, that’s £1024 per slice for the 8 diners who ate it. It was made with £500 worth of Japanese Wagyu beef, Chinese mushrooms, truffles, vintage red wine and real gold leaf on the pastry crust.
- Shakespeare has killed off 2 characters by being baked into a pie. In Titus Andronicus took revenge on Queen Tamora for her evil deeds by baking her sons in a pie.
- The world’s first pie eating contest in the UK was in Wigan in 1992 when contestants had to eat as many pies as possible. However the rules were changed in 2006 to who could eat one pie the fastest.
- In 16th century England the upper classes liked to have live animals jump out of pies for dinner entertainment, hense the nursery rhyme ‘Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie’.
- The term to eat humble pie comes from umble pie which was filled with minced offal and inards and made by the poor. It actually comes from the French word nomble which means deer innards.
My chicken and leek pie is not strictly a pie as it merely has a pie crust top. Traditionally steak pies here don’t have a base and they get away with the title pie and my Mum’s steak pie never had a base either. If it’s good enough for steak pie it’s good enough for my chicken and leek pie.
I therefore claim the title of pie!
Chicken and leek pie
This is such a simple yet tasty pie to make. I just made mine in my cast iron skillet instead of using a standard pie dish. I used scrunched up filo pastry instead of my usual puff pastry. Feel free to use whatever pastry you prefer here.
The blackbird is from my Mum. Goodness, I dread to think how old this little guy is. He has graced every one of my Mum’s classic steak pies for as long as I can remember. He moved here when she died and I think of her every time he pops his read out of a pie.
- I first brown the chicken pieces all over then remove from pan.
- The leeks and cooked down to get them really sweet and tender. I adore the sweetness of leeks when they are really well cooked.
- Add the garlic and mushrooms.
- Return the chicken to the pan with seasoning and thyme and the cider.
- Bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and cool completely before stirring in the Greek yogurt and feta.
- Pour into a pie dish and top with the scrunched filo pastry or other type.
- Bake for about 40 minutes till golden and crunchy on top.
Chicken and Leek Pie
So that’s it, my celebration of British Pie Week. What is your favourite pie?
Chicken and Leek Pie
- 500 g diced chicken breast or thigh meat
- 400 g leeks cut into rings
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 100 g mushrooms sliced
- 400 ml dry cider
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 100 g Greek yogurt
- 100 g Feta cheese crumbled
- 1/2 pack filo pastry
- 1 egg, beaten to wash over pastry
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Brown the chicken pieces on all sides then remove and set aside
- Add remaining oil to pan and saute the leeks on a low heat for approximately 20 minutes till cooked down and very soft
- Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for 5 minutes more
- Season with salt and pepper and thyle and return chicken to the pan
- Pour in the cider, bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely
- Mix in the feta and Greek yogurt
- ladle into a pie dish and top with scrunched up pieces of filo pastry covering entire dish
- Bake for 40 minutes till golden and crisp
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