Seeing as it is British Pie Week it seems only right that I blog a new pie recipe. What can be more British? Stodgy fillings topped with crumbly pastry can often resemble a bit of a mess when plated. It is no wonder that traditional British food gets a bit of a bad reputation. But there is nothing humble about a pie! If anything, it is a real cornerstone of British cuisine and is what brings families and friends together over a delicious and hearty meal. And it is no secret that the British take their pies seriously! Who knew you could get a debate going if a Fish Pie is really a pie because of it’s mashed potato topping? And is filo pastry, typically used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean pies, a bit of a betrayal on the traditional British shortcrust or flaky puff pastry favourites?
I love puff pastry and a Beef and Red Wine Pie is one of my favourite pies. A rich and juicy filling with a crisp and buttery topping is comfort food at it’s best. Yet I do admire the Middle Eastern influenced pies that are typically topped with filo pastry. Unlike British pies, these are often seasoned with plenty of nutmeg, cinnamon and garlic and filled with nuts and good quality cheese. A Spanakopita (Feta and Spinach Filo Pie) is my favourite Greek dish. Not only is it comforting on a cold night but it is the perfect dish to eat when the pie has cooled down on a warm evening. A filo pastry helps keep that crunch and texture better than puff pastry which naturally loses it’s … puff.
A Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie is a British classic but I like to top mine with some filo pastry. I use a little butter, nutmeg and chicken stock to create the sauce and cook the chicken with leeks, onions and mushrooms. And because the filo topping keeps it’s shape well, leftovers can be left in the fridge for the next day.
- 3 or 4 chicken breasts (around 450g)
- 250g button mushroms (roughly sliced)
- 1 large onion (peeled and diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
- Small bunch fresh parsley (finely chopped)
- 1 leek (finely sliced)
- 350ml chicken stock (hot from the kettle)
- 1 tbpsn plain white flour
- 1 tspn dijon mustard
- 50ml white wine
- 25ml double cream
- Few springs fresh rosemary
- 10g butter
- 6-8 sheets filo pastry
- 1 egg (beaten)
- Olive oil
- Salt/ pepper
- Preheat oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas 7.
- In a large frying pan heat a dash of olive oil. Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is starting to turn turn slightly golden and is sealed. Plate up the chicken to one side.
- Add the onions, leeks and garlic to the pan. Cook on a gentle heat for around 3-4 mins or until the onions and leeks are starting to soften.
- Add the flour to pan with the butter, rosemary and mustard and mix well. Whisk everything together so that there are no lumps from the flour. Gradually pour in cream. Add the chicken back to the pan with the mushrooms and mix well. Then pour in the white wine followed by the stock. Bring to a boil and then leave to simmer for around 20 mins or until the sauce has boiled down and thickened and the chicken is cooked through.
- Take the pan off the heat and season with some salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh parsley. Pour the mixture in an oven dish.
- Take a sheet of filo pastry and sort of scrunch it over the pie. Repeat until the pie filling is completely covered. Brush with the beaten egg and then place in the oven for around 25 mins or until the filo pasty is golden and cooked through.