Scrumptious Chicken pie

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The ultimate chicken pie

I’ve made no secret that I am slightly obsessed with pastry. Anything wrapped in buttery pastry is my death and in particular, chicken pie. By the way, you wouldn’t know I love pastry that  much when you look at the disastrous pastry I made yesterday (I posted the pic on my Instagram). Never mind that, though. When I made this chicken pie last week, I knew I was onto something quite special when I tasted the filling. I wasn’t really paying too much attention, I actually didn’t even intend on blogging about this pie but when I tasted the filling, I knew it had to be shared.

Shortcrust Pastry

I started by poaching two, perfectly plump free-range chickens in my biggest pot with lots of aromatics. This, is the key to this pie. Not only do you get juicy, succulent chicken which you can shred for the sauce, but you are also left with close to 2 litres of the most delicious homemade chicken stock (seriously, this is the most insane stock I’ve ever tasted). Some of the stock is also used to make a white sauce of sorts which will keep your filling lovely and moist.

The ultimate chicken pie

For the pastry, I decided to make a flaky shortcrust for the bottom and sides and puff pastry for the top. This ensures that the pastry stays beautifully crisp at the bottom without going soggy but you get the lovely look and butteryness of the puff. This pie was rich and flavourful and although it takes quite a lot of work, I suggest you do this over a weekend when you’ll have time to do all the elements. Also, the pastry and filling can all be made up to 12 hours in advance and just assembled and baked before you’d like to serve this majestic pie. I served mine with buttered carrots but a salad with a sharp dressing will also work.

Scrumptious Chicken pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Dinner, Main, Pie
Serves: 10
Ingredients
to cook the chicken
  • 2 free-range chickens (approximately 1.7-2kg each)
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, plus leaves, roughly chopped
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • handful fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
for the pastry
  • 150g cold butter, cubed
  • 300g flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4-6 tablespoons ice water
for filling
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • chicken meat, shredded, bones and fat discarded
  • handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
for the sauce
  • 100g butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 100ml cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
to assemble
  • 1 roll ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. To cook the chicken, place all the ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring the water up to a boil and lower the heat. Cover and allow to cook for 90 minutes.
  3. When the chickens are cooked through, remove from the stock and set aside to cool before shredding the meat. Discard the bones and excess fat and skin.
  4. Strain the stock to remove all the aromatics then strain again through a muslin-lined sieve. Place the stock in the fridge to allow the fat to rise to the surface and solidify so you can skim it off. You will then be left with a beautiful stock.
  5. To make the pastry, combine the butter, flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.
  6. Add the egg yolks and with the motor running, pour in the ice water, spoon by spoon until the pastry comes together in a ball in the food processor (you might need more or less water, all you need is for the pastry to come together).
  7. Remove the pastry from the food processor and wrap in clingfilm. Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  8. After 30 minutes, roll the pastry out and line the bottom and sides of an oven proof dish approximately 25-30cm in diameter (make sure you have a bit of pastry overhang at the top of the dish so you can crimp the shortcrust and the puff pastry together).
  9. Place the pastry-lined dish back into the fridge to set until you're ready to assemble the pie.
  10. To make the filling, saute the onion, carrot and celery in a splash of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
  11. Add the chicken meat, parsley, lemon zest and juice and set aside.
  12. To make the sauce for the filling, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix into a roux.
  13. Slowly whisk in the stock until you have a smooth, rich looking sauce. Turn down the heat and allow to cook gently for 10 minutes.
  14. Add the cream and season to taste.
  15. Mix the sauce with the chicken filling and set aside.
  16. When you are ready to make the pie, pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
  17. Roll the puff pastry out a little thinner and cut into a shape suitable to top your pie. Reserve any off-cuts to cut out pretty shapes to decorate your pie for.
  18. Place the prepared chicken filling into the chilled shortcrust pastry-lined dish.
  19. Top with the puff pastry and crimp the edges.
  20. Decorate with puff pastry shapes then brush with the beaten egg.
  21. Place the pie in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
  22. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
 

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Alida Ryder
Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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  • Wendy

    Thank you so much for this! I attempted my first chicken pie this week and the recipe I used didn’t give a sauce recipe. (it was only chicken stock with soy sauce and an onion soup packet). Needless to say it turned out to essentially be a chicken soup with a piece of dipping pastry! #AntiClimax ! I’ll definitely try this recipe next time :)

    • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

      Wendy, this really is a delicious recipe. Yes, it requires quite a lot of work but it is so very worth it. Let me know what you think once you’ve made it.

  • Cheryl

    Anything pastry is my biggest weakness! I love chicken pie and this one is next on my list of things to do urgently! Thank you!

    • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

      Let me know what you think once you’ve tried it! :)

  • Hails

    Just put this in the oven….fingers crossed it works lol

    • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

      I hope you love it.

  • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

    Wow Mary. Your comment has just made my day. Thank you so much for letting me know that you made, and liked, this pie. I’m so very glad that you liked it.

  • Cheryl

    Hi, just wondering if this is suitable for freezing and at what stage? Im not a fan of soggy pastry but i dont really have much time to cook during the week. Love your recipes, soo good and all the kids will actually eat them. Winning! :-)

    • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

      Cheryl, I have never frozen this pie before as I really do think it is best eaten as it comes out the oven. I suppose you could freeze it once it’s assembled but just before baking then bake from frozen?

  • Patti

    This looks just fantastic but I wish you had pictured the baking dish you used. The pie looks so deep that I just can’t imagine what sort you used! Can you please describe it in more detail or suggest a name I would look for? Thanks! Patti from Chicago

    • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

      Patti, I actually used a spring form cake pan for this.

      • Jay

        What size spring form did you use?

        • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

          Jay, it was a 22cm springform tin.

  • Nicole

    Why do you use puff pastry for the top half? Could you simply make more of the pastry you use on the bottom/edges and use that? Seems like such a waste to make everything from scratch only to ruin half the crust with something store-bought.

    • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

      Nicole, you could, but I really love puff pastry for the topping. And if you use a really good, all-butter puff pastry, it won’t ruin the pie at all.

  • Sharleen

    Alida – Just to be certain that I’ve got the right cooking lingo, the springform pan you are talking about is the one with a hinge that you use to Make cheesecake? Also would you remove the side piece near the end of the cooking time to allow the sides to brown or does that happen anyway? can’t wait to make it!

    • http://simply-delicious-food.com/ Alida Ryder

      Yes, it’s the one with the hinge. You could remove it to brown the chicken pie but I didn’t feel the need to.

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