My dear friend Tristen is a brilliant chef. One day in 2012 he came over to my small one bedroom apartment and decided in a whim that he would cook us (total 4 of us) lunch. He improvised with stuff I already had at home, went out and got pastry — 2 hours later we got ourselves a big tray of piping hot chicken pie. Thank you, Tristen! That day, which I still remember vividly, introduced me to homemade pie. I moved to New Zealand only a year prior to that, and I wasn’t a big fan of pies then.

So last week I was going through my old photos and I stumbled upon a photo of this luscious tray of chicken pie I made when we were still cramping up in the apartment. I still have the baking tray, although these days it’s not used as a pie dish anymore. One thing I haven’t done for ages is — pie for dinner. I guess am just very used to having my mince cheese potato top pie fix from a bakery near work that I hadn’t been feeling like baking one. I guess it’s time, especially for chilly winter nights that hit us the past week in Auckland. It’s been cold with frosty wind… plus rain!

I picked up some vegetables (leek were on special… score!) on the way home, cooked the pie filling and let it sit in the fridge overnight before baking it for dinner the next day. Nobody has time to make flaky puff pastry from scratch when you have a full time job (unless you’re pastry snob maybe? but I am certainly not one) so I picked up frozen puff pastry in the supermarket.

The husband gave this four thumbs up! It’s such a clever and economical meal that stretches so far — we had a portion each for dinner, and then there are lunches as well as those freezer packs for emergency foods in the future. Not to mention that chicken and leek is really a match made in heaven.

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Chicken and Leek Pie
serves 4-6

– 20g butter
– 2 small or 1 large leek, sliced lengthwise and chopped
– 2 carrots, diced
– 400g chicken breast, diced
– 1 large onion, chopped
– 4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1/4 cup flour
– 1 tbsp chicken stock powder
– 1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
– 1 1/2 cups milk
– a generous handful of grated cheese (I used Edam)
– flaky puff pastry (I used frozen ready to use)
– 1 egg yolk, beaten
– salt and pepper

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To Make

  1. Melt butter in medium sized pot. Add diced chicken and a sprinkle of salt, stir and cook until chicken changes colours. Add onion, garlic and carrot, stir until onion sweats.
  2. Add leek and stir until leek sweats. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in wholegrain mustard and chicken stock powder.
  4. Once carrots soften, stir in flour and keep stirring for two minutes.
  5. Add milk and keep stirring until milk thickens. Add more milk if needed (if you think it’s too thick — see photo above for consistency.
  6. Set aside and let cool.
  7. Preheat oven to 200ºC and spray a springform tin (or a pie dish of your liking) with a coat of oil.
  8. Roll pastry and line tin/dish with pastry.
  9. Spoon your filling mixture into the pie dish and sprinkle over the cheese. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg and place on the top pressing the edges together. Brush the top with remaining egg. Make slits and small holes on top.
  10. Bake for approximately 40 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden.

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