Creamy chicken and leek pie

Creamy chicken and leek pie. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Creamy chicken and leek pie. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A simple but delicious recipe for Sunday lunch, from our food writer Mary Kemp of East Harling.

For stress-free entertaining, make the pastry and chicken filling the day before. If you are not a fan of tarragon, try parsley.

Serves six

For the pastry

175g plain flour

110g butter

A pinch of salt

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A medium egg yolk

A little cold water

For the chicken and leek filling

80g butter

45g plain flour

A level teaspoon of mustard powder

500ml good chicken stock

200ml crème fraiche or double cream

2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper and salt

A roasted chicken, approximately 2 kg in weight

150g smoked ham, cut in one slice

2-3 tablespoons rapeseed oil

2 leeks, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

400g button mushrooms, finely sliced

To make the pastry, rub in the flour, butter and salt, then add the egg yolk and a dash of cold water to bring the dough together – you can do this in the processor – then cover with cling film and place the pastry in the fridge to chill. This can be done the day before.

For the chicken filling

1 Melt 50g of the butter in a pan and stir in the flour and mustard powder to make a roux. Stir and cook the roux for a few minutes, then remove from the heat. Pour in the stock and crème fraiche or cream, a little at a time, stirring well until smooth. Return pan to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously, then simmer for a few minutes, taste and season. Stir in the chopped tarragon, then stand to one side.

2 Remove all the chicken meat from bones, shredding it into strips and place in a large bowl. Remove the fat from the slice of ham and cut into thin strips and add to the chicken.

3 In a large frying pan melt the rest of the butter with the oil, cook the sliced leeks and garlic, then add the mushrooms, cooking and stirring so they don’t catch for two to three minutes (you may have to do this in two batches). Strain off any excess liquid, add the mushroom and leek mixture to the chicken and ham, then pour over the sauce, stirring well to evenly distribute the ingredients. Set aside to cool then refrigerate.

To make the pie

1 Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan oven/gas mark six. In an Aga, cook on the grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven, using the cold shelf to stop the pastry catching. This recipe is perfect for a 32cm oval pie dish, 8cm deep.

2 Put the creamy leek and chicken mixture into a pie dish. Roll out the pastry and cut to fit dish, trim then pinch the edges, decorate with the leftover bits of pastry, glaze with egg wash or milk. Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. Serve with purple sprouting broccoli and creamy mashed potatoes.