Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who you callin' Pieface?


The one defining memory I have of that awkwardly bad 90s sitcom "Just Shoot Me!" is David Spade running around mumuring "chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie!". And then his career went even further downhill from there when he decided to be the star in Joe Dirt.

Anyways, it's one of those annoying thoughts that seems to run around my head when im absent mindedly going about my day. You know the ones, some sort of song or saying that has no meaning to you but somehow you can't stop repeating or singing (for me the one song that gets me is Cripple Creek Ferry by Neil Young, but when I was young my siblings and I used to interpret it as Crickle Creep Fairy so it's deviated from the original somewhat.)

...But basically, chicken pies have been on my mind.

When I was younger and first moved to Sydney I remember going up to the local deli and being amazed at all the "fancy gourmet" food there, and one of the tastiest things I used to buy was chicken pies. There was something so different, so good about these pies that I couldn't pick and it wasn't until years later when I randomly brought the topic up to my mum when she rememberd how great they were, "Oh yeah they were sooo good they had tarragon in them." Shazam, that was it. Tarragon. The herby magical ingredient (no seriously, it's also known as Dragon's Wort...gross but cool).

And so I took inspiration from the pies from all these years ago and made individual chicken, leek and tarragon pies, with a hint of sour cream, a smidgen of dijon mustard and a lovely, light, crispy filo pastry casing. Perfect eaten whilst wearing ugg boots, a flanno and perched next to the heater listening to some good music and/or whilst also reading an enthralling book. Any of the above will suffice.


Chicken, Leek and Tarragon Pies
Makes 4 small pies

500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into chunks
1 leek, washed thoroughly and sliced thinly
1 carrot, diced thinly
2 stalks of celery (the lighter green, sweeter ones closer to the heart is best), diced thinly
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a bunch of fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 a cup of chicken stock
175g sour cream (I use the extra low fat version because I don't like it to be too creamy)
8 sheets of filo pastry (2 per pie)

First is to make a sofrito as a base for the pies - lightly fry off the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic with a few glugs of olive oil in a saucepan. After the leeks, celery and carrot have softened and caramelised a bit, chuck in the chicken thigh pieces and fry off until partly cooked and a little golden. Now add the chicken stock, dijon mustard, a few roughly chopped tarragon leaves and the sour cream. Stir to combine and turn the heat down to a simmer to bubble away and thicken for about 5 minutes.

Just before spooning the pie mixture into ramekin dishes, add in the rest of the tarragon and season with salt and pepper if needed. Fill the ramekin dishes to the top. Grab 2 sheets of filo pastry for each pie, and cut each sheet into 4 sqaured portions. Grab one square and lay over the top of the filling. Add another square. Repeat 2 more times and then for the last 4 squares scrunch them up and lay them on top of the pies, fluffing them up so that when they bake them you get a nice, crunchy pie top. Now crack 1 egg into a dish, whisk up and using a pastry brush, brush a little bit of egg over the top of the pastry.

Place each pie on a tray and bake in an 180 degree oven for about 10 minutes until the tops are crispy and golden.


  1. i am totally going to make this! looks de-lish!

  2. Delicious! This rainy autumn weather is really making crave for heartier food!

  3. I'm always on the lookout for a tasty chicken pie recipe and this fits the bill perfectly. Love the filo pastry, looks like yummy paper.

  4. thanks guys!
    yes it is a great pie to keep warm with...a bit like a hot water bottle but for the insides