Recipes and Ruminations of a Freelance Eater

Recipes and Ruminations of a Freelance Eater

Chicken and vegetable pie

Like many of my ‘recipes’, this one is more of a guide on how to assemble.

Things like pies are so open to interpretation and variation, that it seems wrong to use the word ‘recipe’.

This is the way I make my chicken pie but there are many other ways too…

You could leave out the chicken altogether for a vegetarian version.

My sister made us a lovely chicken pie the other night, and instead of a gravy made separately, it used some chicken stock poured into the chicken mixture, and because the chicken and leeks were cooked off with a little flour, the liquid became thick and perfect for pie gravy. This is the more traditional way to make a pie filling.

But you know me, I like to break the rules. I’m like Maverick in Top Gun, but instead of crashing planes, I crash recipes. Sometimes I win. Sometimes, I lose.  I lose good friends along the way. Once I had to through a whole meal in the bin.

It comes in four steps;

1) Pastry

2) White sauce

3) Filling

4) Assembly

You can make pastry or you can buy it. Obviously easier to buy.

1) Short Crust Pastry Recipe:



250g cold butter

4 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

cold water



Put flour and cubed butter into a food processor and blitz until it ‘resembles fine breadcrumbs’. Mine never do.

Add salt and enough cold water to bring the mixture together.

I would say a few tablespoons, but just add little at a time.

Now here’s the bit where I will get all in trouble by chefs and stuff. But I got so sick of my pastry falling apart.

From the processor I tip my dough mixture (which is still all crumbly at this stage) straight into a greased pie dish. Use half, as this recipe is doubled. Put the rest in the fridge till later.

Then I press it into a pie crust using my fingers.

Put it in the oven till it’s just turning golden, and then take out.

2) White Sauce Recipe:


approx. 30g butter

approx. table spoon flour

approx. 1 cup milk

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Make a white sauce with the butter, flour and milk.

Cook in the mustard and cheese and season with salt and pepper.

Let the sauce reduce so it’s fairly thick.

3) Filling Recipe:


Diced Chicken breast or thigh (or both)

1 diced onion

1 minced clove garlic

Lightly steamed/pre-cooked vegetables. Diced carrot and pumpkin, sliced beans, corn, broccoli, peas, cabbage….(what ever vegetables you want really)


Brown the chicken, and remove from pan.

Saute the onions and garlic.

Return chicken to pan and add veges and mix it up a bit adding a little water or wine to losen the brown stuff on the base of the pan.

Pour chicken mixture into the white sauce and mix.

4) Assembly:

Pour the pie filling into the base.

Now, take the dough mix out of the fridge and put some baking paper out on the bench.

Mould and roll the dough into a circular sheet of pastry for the lid of the pie.

Because this dough is so crumbly, lift it off the bench using the baking paper.

And, flip it onto the top of the pie.

Obviously the whole process is much easier with store-bought pastry. You can use either short crust or puff.

Cut a whole in the pie, or have your pie bird ready and poke it out the top of the pastry lid.

Bake until the pastry is cooking and brown.

Because the chicken and veges are mostly cooked you are only waiting for the pastry to be cooked.

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