Nigel Slater is a man that has an incredible understanding of food. His recipes are simple, understated, elegant, nostalgic, and always seem to compliment their ingredients.
This Chicken and Leek Pie is my salute to Nigel Slater, and after all, according to Oscar Wilde - 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness’!! My version is made often due to popular demand, and each time the quantity is tripled. One pie for dinner and two for the freezer, or as I like to call it “the cold cabinet of comfort food”.
As you read this recipe you’ll find the chicken is poached in milk. It is my expert opinion, that this process turns a good pie into a really great pie! The chicken becomes so silky soft - it practically melts in your mouth!
Once the chicken filling is complete, it will take all your strength not to eat straight from the pan. But hang on tight, the best is yet to come!
“It is the deep, salty stickiness of food that intrigues me more than any other quality.”
– Nigel Slater
2 large chicken breasts, each cut into 3 chunks
Milk to cover
1 bay leaf
6 rashes smoked streaky bacon
3 heaped tbsp. plain flour
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
4 sheets store-bought puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F.
2. In a saucepan add the chicken, peppercorns and bay leaf. Cover with milk. Bring to the boil and simmer, with the lid partially covered, for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
3. Meanwhile, fry the bacon in the butter. Add the sliced leeks and allow to soften.
4. When the chicken is cooked remove from the milk and flake the chicken meat into the pan with the leeks.
5. Add the flour and cook through for two minutes
6. Pass the milk through a sieve to remove the peppercorns and bay leaf and add to the pan with the chicken. Add the Dijon mustard. Stir constantly to make a thick sauce.
7. Grease a baking dish with butter and line with 1 or 2 sheets of pastry, joining the pastry if your using 2
8. Pour in the pie filling and top with 1 or 2 sheets of pastry, crimping the edges and sealing any gaps
9. Brush the pie with a beaten egg bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes
Tip: serve with a green salad or mushy peas