Saturday Special: Pieminister’s chicken, leek and cider pie

The pastry chicken on top is compulsory (it's not compulsory)

The pastry chicken on top is compulsory (it’s not compulsory)

This recipe comes from Pieminister: A Pie For All Seasons, which is the poshest recipe book I’ve ever owned.

The chicken, leek and cider pie (from the Spring section of the book – fancy!) is one of the best pies I’ve ever tasted; and if you don’t fancy pastry, the filling makes a pretty amazing broth/soup type thing.

Pieminister recommends using Orchard Pig cider, but that’s probably because they know the bloke that makes it. Any medium or dry cider works just as well.

Here we go!


1 free range chicken (I used thighs because they’re the shiznit)

1 carrot, peeled and cut into quarters

2 celery sticks, cut into quarters

2 onions, cut in half

1 whole bulb of garlic, top sliced off

6 sprigs of tarragon

a large knob of butter

3 chunky leeks, cut in half lengthwise then sliced

200ml dry or medium cider

2 tbsp plain flour

150ml single or whipping cream

grated zest of half a lemon

3 tbsp chopped chives

about 660g of shortcrust pastry

1 free range egg, lightly beaten

375g puff pastry

salt and pepper


  • Put the chicken in a large pot with the carrot, celery, half an onion, the garlic bulb, 2 tarragon sprigs and a little salt.
  • Add enough water to almost cover the chicken. Cover the pan, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 45 mins until the chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from the pot.
  • Strain the chicken stock into a pan, discard all the vegetables but keep the garlic
  • Boil stock until reduced by half. Take the skin off the chicken and wolf those muthas down between two slices of bread discard
  • Tear the meat to shreds
  • Chop the rest of the onions, melt the butter in a pan and add the onions. Then add the leeks and cook until softened. Pour in the cider then simmer until reduced by half.
  • Stir in the flour, cook for a few seconds, then add 400ml of the chicken stock, then the cream and lemon zest.
  • Bring to a simmer, adding more stock if needed. Chop the remaining tarragon and add to the sauce then remove from the heat.
  • Squeeze in the garlic bulb flesh, stir in the chives and that sweet, sweet chicken. Season and leave to cool.

    All that chicken-y goodness works well as a broth if you're not in the mood for a pie. But you should always be in the mood for a pie.

    This works well as a broth if you’re not in the mood for a pie. But you should always be in the mood for a pie.

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
  • Roll out the shortcrust pastry and use it to line a large ovenproof dish. Fill the pastry with the chicken mixture and brush the edges with beaten egg.
  • Roll out the puff pastry and use this to cover the pie, trim off any excess pastry and press the edges of the pastry together to seal.
  • Make a couple of small holes in the top to let out steam.
  • Leave to stand for 10 minutes then bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.
  • Take it out of the oven and take a moment to quietly reflect and shed a tear because the world will never realise your genius.
  • Eat that sucka with roast potatoes.


@thatmissdeen x


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