Summer chicken pie

I luurve chicken pie. Proper chicken pie. Proper chicken pie does not include peas. It does not include carrots. It does not include white sludge that some might try to convince you is a form of chicken gravy. It does include leeks and cream and butter (lots of butter if you feel like it). Most importantly, it includes big chunks of chicken.

This evening, Sarah (who blogs at auldfromreekie) was coming to dinner and to babysit while we went to a show. It was too nice a day to spend the afternoon inside cooking, so I made the filling while Ila had a post-lunch snooze and threw it all together just before 7 o’clock. (I’ve done the same before – for a mid-week dinner – keeping the filling in the fridge overnight.) Using frozen filo makes the assembly process very quick, which is great in summer. No laborious hours in the kitchen required.

This is the summer version of the pie. In winter, I don’t use filo. Instead, I put the filling in a pie dish and top it with (yet more) buttery mashed potatoes.  The summer version goes very well with tabbouleh salad.

Summer chicken pie

  • 1 leek
  • 500 grams chicken breast or thigh
  • 120 grams butter
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper or even something like this
  • frozen ready-made filo pastry
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 handful of slivered almonds

Wash the leek and slice it in 3/4 centimetre rounds. Cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks and roll in the seasoned flour. Heat one third of the butter in a heavy-bottomed ban. Sauté the leek until it is soft and remove from the pan. Add another third of the butter to the pan and fry the chicken until it is slightly brown and just cooked through.

Tip the leeks back into the pan with the chicken, along with the parsley, crème fraîche and milk. Stir over the heat until the cream begins to bubble a little. Let bubble for a minute or two. Set aside (or refrigerate until needed).

To assemble the pie, melt the remaining butter in the microwave or in a small saucepan.  Using a pastry brush, coat individual sheets of filo pastry with butter and layer together. Put 3-4 layers of buttered filo into the bottom of a pie dish. Pour the chicken mixture on top. Lay buttered filo on top of the meat, again 3-4 layers. Tuck the edges under the pastry that forms the bottom of the pie. Brush the top with beaten egg and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Bake in a preheated 180°C oven for half an hour or until browned.

We have two leftover pieces of pie and a big bowl of tabbouleh in the fridge. Ila and I will be taking these outside for a picnic lunch if the weather is as nice tomorrow as it was this afternoon.

UPDATE: Ila and I were not able to take the pie for a picnic lunch, because Puneet got there before us. Gasp! I feel like Mother Hubbard or perhaps the Queen of Hearts on a summer’s day.

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