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You’re on to a winner with chicken pie

  • By Francesca Rilotelli
  • Published 11/29/2012

Chicken pie has always been a favourite of mine. From the cheap frozen ones I ate as a child to the more grown-up creamy version with mushrooms and leeks, topped with puff pastry. I suppose that actually makes it a potpie, the fact that it just has a pastry topping and no bottom. What’s in a name though: it’s still delicious. If you have a search around the internet for some recipes on chicken and leek pie, then you will be inundated with hundreds of different variations, but for the filling itself you will only need three things to get started – good quality chicken, some fresh leeks and some béchamel sauce. Obviously you’ll need some pastry to create its housing, but there’s no reason not to buy this pre-prepared to save time and effort.

To get started you’ll need to pre-heat the oven and get cracking with the béchamel sauce – which is as easy as pie (sorry)! A béchamel or white sauce is one of the classic French “mother sauces” that form the basis of much French cuisine. The original recipe for béchamel may be this one from Auguste Escoffier: “White roux moistened with milk, salt, onion stuck with clove [aka onion pique], cook for 18 minutes”. A white sauce is perhaps the most commonly-used mother sauce for home cooks.

It’s really very simple: A roux (a mix of equal weights butter and flour) is cooked together into a clumpy paste, then cooked with milk until smooth and creamy. The butter and flour swell as they are cooked in order to thicken the milk. This delicious gloop will be the home for your chicken and leeks.

To complete your masterpiece, simply brown-off the chunks of chicken, generously cut up the leeks and plonk into the sauce. Finally pop on the pastry hat and put into an oven nicely warmed to about 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Beautiful!

About the Author : Francesca Rilotelli is writing about Chicken and leek pie



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