Sunday, 10 March 2013

Who ate all the pies?

A moonwalking Shetland pony to sell you a phone? A meerkat to sell you insurance? Companies will do anything to get you to turn a weary eyeball in their direction these days. But one pastry manufacturer has come up with a stonkingly good idea - British Pie Week (which ends today). Who doesn't love a pie, especially at this time of year? Sweet or savoury, the options are endless, though you might balk at the 17th century fad for putting live birds in pies which would fly out when the crust was cut open. Then what? Presumably the enraged birds flapped around the diners, defecating on the rest of their food. Back to more appealing pie thoughts and this delicious chicken and leek pie topped with crunchy-crispy filo pastry...

Chicken and leek filo pie in a white pie dish
Aerial view of chicken and leek filo pie

Chicken and Leek Filo Pie

55g butter
1 or 2 large leeks, finely sliced
2 large carrots, diced small
half a packet lardons (about 90g) or a couple of chopped bacon rashers
1 tablespoon plain flour
400ml hot chicken stock
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons double cream
350g cooked chicken, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
4-5 large sheets filo pastry

Pre-heat the oven to 200/gas 6.

Bottom: Cook the leeks, carrots and lardons in 25g of the butter for about 15 minutes until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually add the stock, stirring until you have a smooth sauce, then simmer for 10 minutes. Add the mustard, cream, chicken and parsley and tip into an ovenproof dish.

Top: Melt the remaining 30g butter. Taking one sheet of filo at a time, gently scrunch it and drop it onto the top of the filling. Repeat until all the filling is covered with pastry, then brush liberally with melted butter and bake without delay.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden and the bottom is bubbling.

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