Updated: Nov 14, 2020
I have spent quite a few years perfecting this recipe, which was made up, but fairly traditional in that the flavours are those that everyone knows go together! I didn't have mushrooms last time I made this, so you won't see that in the photo of the filling below - but it was brilliant without as well, so the recipe is fairly adaptable! In fact, It would be really easy to make this vegetarian with mixed mushrooms (I am obsessed with oyster mushrooms and they’d be amazing in this), porcini/vege stock to substitute the chicken, stock and lardons.
serves 6-8 (makes 1 large lasagne dish pie or two smaller pies, ie two 23 cm square or round tins)
70g butter (I know!)
2 leeks, sliced
3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
160g smoked lardons/pancetta/speck, cubed
600g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in to bite-sized chunks
1 Tbsp olive/vege oil (for browning - I know olive oil isn't great for high heat but I use it anyway in this instance)
250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
a dash of dry white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc because that's the only one I ever have around...)
2 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
a handful of fresh thyme, leaves removed and roughly chopped or 1 level tsp dried thyme
3 level Tbsp plain flour
500mL chicken stock (but have an extra 250mL handy in case you need to thin out the sauce)
150g crème fraîche
2 bay leaves
4 x 320gm pre-rolled puff pastry sheets (keep refrigerated until just before you use it once the filling is made)
1 egg, for brushing
1. Melt butter in a large sauté pan or saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add leeks, celery, garlic and lardons and cook gently until soft.
2. Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat the olive oil to fairly hot and brown the chicken, then set aside, adding to the main pan once the veges have softened - and make sure you pour the juices in with it!
3. Turn up the heat and add mushrooms at this stage if you're using them and cook for a few minutes.
4. Add the Dijon mustard and stir in, then a wee slug of wine. Cook off the wine for a few minutes.
5. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the meat and veges and mix it through fairly quickly, taking care not to break up the leeks too much. Once you see the flour cooking (after a minute or so) and frothing around everything else, it's time to add the stock.
6. Add half the stock at first and stir around thoroughly, to avoid lumps forming from the flour. As the sauce thickens, add the rest of the stock and the thyme, bring to the boil and simmer for about 8 minutes or until lovely and thick.
7. Then, stir in the crème fraîche and bay leaves and simmer for another 5 or so minutes, until the pie filling is smooth, thick and glistening! If it becomes too thick for your liking, add a wee bit more stock. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and cool a bit.
8. Preheat the oven to 200°C and make sure the oven tray is in the lower half of the oven, but not at the bottom.
9. Grease 2 pans or 1 large pan (see note above) very well with butter and lightly beat the egg with a fork in a small bowl.
10. Press a sheet of pastry in to the base of the pan, coming up to about 6-7cm around the sides.
11. Ladle the filling in to the pastry bases. If it's quite warm, that's fine - you have to work quickly when you're decorating the lid, but you're actually less likely to get a 'soggy bottom' if the filling isn't refrigerated. Leave at least 1.5 cm of pastry showing above the filling to work with.
12. Brush the egg around the top edges of the base (it doesn't matter if some runs in to the filling... it's not detectable)
13. Place another sheet (you may have to trim) on top, and press the edges together with the base. Roll the edges in from the outside, then complete the seal by dipping a fork in to flour and pressing the edges down (you have to double dip the fork a few times).
14. Brush the entire lid and edges with egg wash, then make whatever decoration you desire with the excess pastry and brush some egg wash over that too. Pierce a couple of steam holes in the lid with the point of a sharp knife.
15. Bake for 40-50 minutes. The lid must be really dark golden to ensure the base is crisp, not soggy!
I sometimes use short pastry for the base and puff for the lid. Both work! The short offers a bit more structure if you're going to remove a whole pie from the baking tin, but the one pictured has a puff pastry base, so it still works with both!