There are many varieties of savory British pies, and this easy chicken and leek pie is one of the classics! The cozy filling of shredded chicken and tender leeks bakes until bubbly under the shelter of a golden brown disk of buttery puff pastry.
1poundboneless skinless chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2large leeks, white and pale green parts onlyhalved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
1 ½cupschicken broth or stock
¼cupheavy cream, light cream, or half-and half
1tablespoonwhole-grain or Dijon mustard
1sheetpuff pastry, thawed if frozen(about 12 ½-by-10 ½-inches or slightly smaller)
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Arrange chicken pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 to 25 minutes (SEE NOTE BELOW), or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F/75°C when checked with an instant read thermometer. Cool the chicken enough to handle, then shred and set aside.
In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, thyme, and a big pinch of salt and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Gradually stir in the chicken broth, cream, and mustard until smooth, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the shredded chicken. Set aside to cool to room temperature before assembling, about 30 minutes.
Transfer filling to a greased 1 ½ to 1 ¾ quart baking dish (such as 10 ½-by-7-inches rectangular or 8-to-8 ½ inches square). Unroll or unfold your thawed puff pastry sheet. If it’s not already the right size or dimensions, on a lightly floured work surface roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle or square just larger than your baking dish. Brush the edge of the dish with water. Lay the pastry over the baking dish and gently press the edges to seal to the baking dish. Fold over any excess dough to create a tall border. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges.
Lightly brush beaten egg over the top of the pastry, then use a sharp knife to cut 3 slits as vents. Transfer the pie to a rimmed baking sheet (in case of drips) and bake at 400°F/200°C until the puff pastry is dark golden brown all over and the filling is bubbly, about 50 to 60 minutes. If the edges brown too quickly for your liking, you may carefully tent some aluminum foil over them partway through baking.
Note on chicken cook time: Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces (i.e. large breasts versus small tenders). Dark meat will take longer to cook than white meat, and if you opt for bone-in chicken it will take even longer. Use an instant read thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked through rather than relying on the suggested cook time range, which is provided to give you a general idea. This is not a lot of chicken and if you have a toaster oven you can easily cook the chicken in there quite conveniently. It’s what I usually do.
You can use 3 cups of shredded leftover rotisserie, roasted or poached chicken in this recipe instead of cooking the chicken from scratch.
To serve this simple savory pie, I recommend using a very sharp knife or a serrated knife to cut/divide the puff pastry topping into 4 quarters. Then gently loosen the puff pastry from where it is stuck to the edges of the baking dish. Carefully lift off the puff pastry quarter and set it aside, then spoon a quarter of the chicken and leek filling and transfer to a serving plate. Finally top that serving with the reserved puff pastry quarter. Repeat with the remaining servings.
Although you could absolutely use a homemade dough/crust for topping this savory pie, I have opted to create a chicken and leek puff pastry pie to replicate the delectable version I enjoyed at Browns in Town in Derry, Northern Ireland. There are benefits to both, but the simplicity of puff pastry is a great bonus when making this easy pie.