Roast chicken swathed in a smooth, creamy and flavourful sauce loaded with fresh leeks and tarragon and topped with light as a feather puff pastry. I just LOVE the classic combination of chicken and tarragon. The gently cooked leeks and tender chicken wrapped in a silky sauce, really allow the liquorice/aniseed and vanilla flavours of tarragon to shine and add a delicate flavour punch which lifts this dish from simple, homely comfort food to outstanding homely comfort food!
Tarragon is also delicious with fish and eggs. If you have any leftover, you could use it in a Béarnaise sauce, in a vinaigrette, in a potato salad, add it to an omelette, chop it, mix with salted butter and serve it with some salmon. There are so many delicious uses for this fabulous herb.
This pie is a fabulous way to turn the last of your roast chicken into a new, fresh and satisfying meal. I always make chicken stock from a chicken carcass and you can use some of that in this recipe or, if you still have some gravy left, you could use that instead. Save the stock to make a risotto, or perhaps some fresh homemade soup or even use it to cook rice and add flavour and nutrients. I like to make sure nothing goes to waste when roasting a chicken!
Make some changes: if you do not have leeks, you could replace some of the leeks with chopped onion and cook in the same way. Mushrooms and/or sweetcorn are also delicious in a chicken pie. Add to the cooked onion and cook for a further 3 – 4 minutes before adding the flour.
500g puff pastry (I use pre rolled or you can use a block)
1 egg, beaten
Collect together your equipment (see Recipe Notes below) and ingredients.
Preheat oven to Fan Oven 180°C/200°C/400°F/Gas 6
Make the filling: shred, slice or cube the chicken.
Chop the leek. I chop the leek quite finely but it is also delicious chopped or sliced in larger pieces.
Melt the butter over a moderate heat and add the leek. Cook for 5 minutes until softened and slightly caramelised.
Add the flour, stir well and cook for 2 minutes stirring continuously.
Mix the milk and stock or gravy and add to the leeks. stirring continuously.
Add the mustard and the salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring for 4 – 5 minutes until thickened.
Take off the heat, add the tarragon and stir well to mix.
Stir in the chicken and leave to cool.
Top with the pastry: roll out your pastry, if necessary. Use your pie dish(es) as a guide to cut out your pastry lid(s).
Grease your pie dish(es) well with butter including the rim and fill with the chicken and tarragon mixture.
Use the scraps of pastry to cut out thin strips and lay these over the pie dish rim. Brush with water.
Lay the pastry top over the pie and press down gently on to the pastry strips on the rim.
Seal the pastry by either pinching with your fingers or using a fork.
Use a knife to neaten the edges of the pastry and remove any overhanging bits. Brush the pie(s) with egg wash.
Transfer to a baking tray (just in case the pies spill over a bit when cooking) and cut a cross shape in the top of each pie to allow the steam to escape.
Cook in the centre of a pre-heated oven for 35 – 45 minutes until the the pastry is golden brown and puffed up and the centre of the pie is bubbling and hot.
To serve: delicious with mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes and some green vegetables.
kitchen scales and measuring spoons
chopping board and knife
Either 6 individual pie dishes or 1 large 23cm/9 inch pie dish
Make some changes:
If you do not have leeks, you could replace some of the leeks with chopped onion and cook in the same way. Mushrooms and/or sweetcorn are also delicious in a chicken pie. Add to the cooked onion and cook for a further 3 – 4 minutes before adding the flour.