This chicken pie went through several elaborate variations (saffron and pearl barley, anyone?) before I came up with this very simple version and rather nervously handed platefuls to my friends Ruby and Leah. Fortunately, it turned out beautifully and was by far the easiest to make. A new staple.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25-30 minutes
2 leeks, very finely sliced
4 small free-range chicken breasts, cut into large chunks
120g chorizo, diced
300g crème fraîche
1/2 a juicy lemon, zest and juice
1 tsp sea salt flakes (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
1 free-range egg, beaten
1 x 320g ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
Step 1 Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Tip the leeks into a bowl, pour over a kettleful of boiling water and leave to steep for 2 minutes while you get on with prepping the other ingredients.
Step 2 Drain the leeks well in a colander, then tip into a roasting tin along with the chopped chicken, chorizo, crème fraîche, lemon zest and juice, salt (if using) and a good grind of black pepper.
Step 3 Give everything a good mix, then brush the edges of the roasting tin with a little beaten egg and lay the pastry on top. Use your thumbs or a fork to press the edges of the pastry against the edges of the tin – don’t worry about any overhang, it’ll just mean there’s more to eat later.
Step 4 Brush with the beaten egg, then cut a cross in the middle for steam to escape. You can add cut shapes from the excess pastry and stick them on top with a little beaten egg, if you’re feeling artistic.
Step 5 Transfer to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Let the pie sit for 5 minutes before serving hot.
CHANGE IT UP This pie is also excellent without chorizo, as leeks pack in so much flavour. Consider adding a couple of teaspoons of dijon mustard instead.
These recipes are taken from best-selling cookery writer and food stylist Rukmini Iyer’s new book The Quick Roasting Tin (Square Peg, £16.99). To order a copy for £10.99 with free p&p until 12 January, call 01603 648155 or go to mailshop.co.uk. Rukmini’s fee for this feature has been donated to Crisis, Shelter and Rape Crisis South London.