Chicken pie is really the ultimate of winter comfort food.
With crisp golden pastry encasing tender chunks of meat in a flavoursome gravy, a good chicken pie is a firm family favourite.
While there are of course exceptions to every generalisation, on the whole a homemade chicken pie is going to taste better than a commercial pie. You can pack your homemade pie with quality meat and vegetables and also know that you have used really good pastry.
You can of course use leftover roast chicken but we prefer chicken that has been gently cooked in water with a few flavours (carrot, onion, celery, parsley etc…), as this ensures the meat remains moist and tender.
Once the meat has been picked from the bones, the remaining carcass can then be simmered and reduced in the cooking liquid to make a rich, flavoursome stock.
Vegetables not only bulk out the meat but they add interesting flavour and texture. Onion, garlic, celery and carrot are the base to a classic pie although leek with chicken is also a perfect marriage.
Whatever your vegetable base is, make sure that you cook them long and slow to ensure they are well and truly tender before going into the pie.
A traditional pie is usually made with a butter puff pastry. Making your own puff pastry does take time and for that reason most of us buy it, just make sure you read the labels and look for pastry that uses butter, I think the taste is better than the vegetable shortening alternatives. On days where time is available then do try making your own puff pastry or for a quicker result try sour cream rough puff, made famous by Australian cook Maggie Beer.
The gravy/sauce is vital for being thick enough not to run everywhere but not gluggy.. Homemade or fresh purchased stocks (e.g. Federation pouches) will always taste better than stocks out of a packet.
Chicken Pie Making Tips:
1. Ceramic, glass and Pyrex dishes are all good for achieving crisp pastry.
2. Cooking meat on the bone first ie cooking a whole chicken, will give a richer flavour and better texture to the pie.
3. Slowly sweat your base vegetables and ensure they are thoroughly cooked before going into the pie.
4. Try and leave enough time to chill your filling before making the pie, pastry is at its best if kept as cold as possible until it goes into the oven.
5. Pastry should be kept as cold as possible until it gets into the oven. This will assist pastry becoming crisp, light and puffed..
6. Brush the pie with egg wash (egg yolk mixed with a little water) to give a lovely golden hue, if eggs are a problem then you can use milk.
7. Cook pies on fan bake and in the lower part of the oven.
8. The quicker the pastry heats the crisper and lighter the pastry will be. Heating an oven tray in the oven and then sitting your pie dish on this can be a good way to get a good crisp pastry base.
Our Favourite Chicken Pies
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Pot Pie is a fabulous pie for weeknights when timing is a bit tight. Cook your chicken the night before and then you can quickly make the filling, pop on the lid and bake.
Feed a Crowd Smoked Chicken Pie
This pie is a real show stopper, I have been stopped on the street by people who love this pie and we understand why!
Chicken, Mushroom and Bacon Pie
This filling is rich, hearty and honest.
A great winter pie.
Moroccan Chicken Pie
With aromatic spices, chunks of pumpkin and red onion, this chicken pie is a feast for the senses.
Butter Chicken Party Pies
Pies and parties go hand in hand and these little bites of
flavoursome butter chicken are just perfect to serve with drinks or make them into bigger pies for dinner!
Smoked Chicken and Kumara Filo Parcels
Easy for week night dinner, these parcels rely on pantry/fridge staples and are great reheated for lunch the next day.
With chopped green olives, herbs and spices, these empanadas are very moreish.
Great for lunches, dinner or make tiny parcels to serve with drinks.
Chicken and Mustard Pie
This was my go to chicken pie for many years and always served with a rocket salad and balsamic dressing…