This chicken and leek pie is the PERFECT comfort food for the cooler weather.
Chunks of chicken are nestled in a rich creamy sauce with leeks and bacon, but there's no cream needed at all at all. What could be better than that? Well, this pie also has a double crust, which is easy to make and comes out great every time.
You can make this chicken and ham pie from scratch, or you can cheat all the way. I won't tell anyone! It's perfect for using up leftover chicken or turkey, especially if you need new ideas at Christmas and Thanksgiving.
My family love a proper pie and if I ask my husband what he likes best it has to be a pie! There are so many variations across the world and some great ones in the UK. If you are interested in some of the best British pies, there are plenty to choose from.
One to definitely try is steak and kidney pie, a proper British favourite!
The great thing about this recipe is that you can make it from scratch, cooking the meat and making pastry or you can do the whole lot with leftover meat and shop bought shortcrust or puff pastry.
There's so many variations too with chicken and ham pie or chicken and bacon pie or just using vegetables.
- Chicken breasts - boneless and skinless breasts are easy to cook.
- Smoked bacon lardons - these have great flavour and are just small pieces of bacon. Use sliced bacon cut into pieces instead.
- Leeks - use both the white and green parts for maximum flavour.
For the sauce
- Whole milk or semi skimmed will give the best results. There's no cream in this version.
- Butter - this gives the sauce an extra creaminess and taste.
- Chicken stock - made from stock cubes or homemade.
For the shortcrust pastry
- Butter - for a rich tasting pastry. For the best pastry put the butter in the fridge until the last minute.
- Plain or all purpose flour
- Lard - this makes the pastry really melt in the mouth. Use all butter if you prefer.
You can also add fresh herbs to the pie. I love to use a tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon, but you can use a teaspoon of your favourite dried herbs too.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Start by making the pastry.
I prefer to make my pastry with a higher quantity of fat to flour as I like the pastry to melt in the mouth.
For ease, use a food processor with the blade and a big bowl. Cut the butter into cubes so that it mixes quickly without overworking the flour. Add the flour and salt to the bowl and tip in the butter pieces.
Pulse a few times until the fat and flour is combined. Beat the egg and pulse and then add an egg and enough cold water until it comes together in a lump.
Of course, you can rub it in by hand, use a pastry cutter or just use a fork if you are like me and can't stand sticky hands. Divide the dough into 2 round portions of ⅔ and ⅓.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the dough rest.
For the chicken put 4 small chicken breasts in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes until it is cooked.
Put the chicken on a plate to cool and reserve 250ml/8 fl oz. of the stock for the sauce.
Take two forks and pull the chicken breast apart into bite sized chunks.
If you are using leftover chicken prepare it in the same way and if you are using cooked ham instead of bacon then shred or cut it into chunks.
Fry smoked bacon lardons or bacon together with finely sliced leeks in a large frying pan over a medium heat until softened. If you are not using bacon add a little vegetable oil to fry the leeks.
Add the cooked chicken and cooked ham, if you are using, to the pan with the leeks.
Make the sauce by adding the retained stock and milk to a saucepan with the butter and flour. Cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil. Simmer for a minute to make sure that the flour is cooked out or it will have a raw taste.
Season to taste and add the fresh or dried tarragon or other herbs of your choice.
Pour the sauce over the the meat and leek mixture and stir well. Allow to cool as adding the hot mixture to the pastry will cause it to start melting before it goes into the oven.
Roll out the larger piece of pastry to cover a pie dish with an overlap for the top and add in the cooled filling.
Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water.
Roll out the remaining dough and top the pie, sealing the edges with beaten egg and glazing the top. Make a small hole to let the steam escape.
⏲️ Baking time
Cook for 30-40 minutes at 190C/375F/170FAN/Gas5 until golden then sit back and enjoy.
Here's the chicken and leek pie made from scratch.
So here's a delicious pie that is perfect to make from scratch or with leftovers. You really need to try this as it's the most popular recipe on the site!
- Chicken - use skinless chicken thigh if you prefer or even a mixture. The thigh meat has great flavour and keeps really moist. This recipe is also perfect for using cold leftovers from chicken or turkey, if you have them or from a bought ready cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken. Make sure that you remove all of the skin as it tends to turn slimy in a pie.
- Bacon - make it a chicken and ham pie and use chunks or pieces of leftover ham, rather than the bacon.
- Leeks - instead try using sliced mushrooms or leave them out.
- Sauce - use a tin of soup, such as mushroom or chicken instead of making the sauce.
- Pastry - Use two sheets of ready rolled short crust pastry to save time.
- Pot pie - rather than using a double crust with shortcrust pastry just use a sheet of store bought puff pastry. Seal, glaze and bake as usual.
- Vegetarian - simply use vegetable stock to cook vegetables of your choice. Try quartered mushrooms, broccoli florets broken up, , sliced peppers, green beans, peas and sweetcorn.
- Luxury - instead of using milk you can substitute some of the quantity for single cream or light cream or use half and half.
- Ceramic pie dish about 26cm/10 inches in diameter.
- A food processor cuts down time for the pastry.
- Rolling pin.
This chicken and leek pie is best eaten on the day it is made. If you have made the pie with freshly cooked meat you could reheat it in oven the next day.
If you wanted to freeze the pie then assemble it and wrap well and freeze for a month. Defrost and brush with egg wash before cooking as normal.
💭 Top tips
- If you have gravy left from a roast then use this as part of the sauce for extra flavour.
- For meal preparation make use of the oven space while cooking. Put some chicken breasts or thighs in deep roasting dish, season, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Refrigerate or freeze the meat in chunks or shredded to use in recipes.
If you want a double crust pie, with a layer of pastry at the bottom and on top of the filling, then shortcrust pastry is best because it will not try to rise up.
It's possible to use shortcrust for a bottom layer and puff pastry for the top.
For a pot pie, or top crust only, use flaky or puff pastry. You can also try using filo pastry for lighter topping. Cut sheets into quarters, scrunch them up and place on top of the pie before baking.
More pie recipes to try
Chicken and Leek Pie.
- food processor
- Ceramic pie dish 26cm/10inches in diameter
- Rolling Pin
- 600 g chicken breast
- 200 g smoked bacon lardons
- 2 leeks washed and finely sliced
- 500 ml chicken stock
- 350 g plain flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 200 g butter or combination of butter and lard
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 tbsp cold water if needed
- beaten egg to seal and glaze pie
- 30 g plain flour
- 30 g butter
- 250 ml milk mixed with 250 ml of poaching stock
- Make the pastry by pulsing the flour, salt and fat together then adding in the beaten egg and sufficient water to make a dough.
- Divide into 2 portions of ⅓ and ⅔ then refrigerate wrapped in cling film for 30 minutes.
- Poach the chicken in the stock for about 15 minutes and retain 250ml stock for the sauce and shred the chicken.
- In a large pan fry the bacon in its own fat with the leeks until soft then add in the chicken.
- Make the sauce by adding the 250ml of retained stock topped up with 250 ml milk to a saucepan with the flour and butter. Heat and whisk continuously until thickened and season to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture and allow to cool.
- Roll out the larger piece of dough to line a pie dish and add the meat mixture before topping with the remaining dough and sealing the edges with the beaten egg.
- Glaze the pie top with egg and cook for about 30 minutes at 190 C until golden.
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
- Never leave cooking food unattended'
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using gas.