On Saturday I roasted a whole chicken, but I always forget just how much meat comes off a bird and, as a result, there was loads left over. This is never a bad thing in my book though because it meant that I could put the chicken towards, not only chicken salad sandwiches for lunches, but also a meal for last night. That dinner turned out to be a chicken and leek pie.
Whenever I roast meat, be it a chicken, a piece of steak or a pork chop, I always let it rest for a good while before serving it. I’ve never encountered a better piece of advice for cooking meat than to let it rest for a little while after it’s been cooked. This process is essential because it allows the fibres of the meat to relax after it’s been in contact with the extreme heat of the cooking process. Think of how your muscles would tense up if you stepped naked into a blast freezer – it’s the same principle for meat when it meets heat. And it’s naked too. So giving it a wee while to relax a bit after going through the cooking experience makes sense really, doesn’t it? And if you cover the meat with tin foil while it’s resting it’ll retain its heat, so it’s not stone cold when you come to serve it.
If it wasn’t for the fact that I had some frozen ready-rolled gluten-free shortcrust pastry in my freezer I might not have decided to make the chicken and leek pie (sometimes making your own pastry can be such a tedious business), but the frozen pastry works very well and doesn’t taste any different, so why not buy it ready-made is what I say.
I gently fried my chopped green leek tops in a little bit of non-dairy butter which added a lovely natural onion-like sweetness, but didn’t add the FODMAPs that come with actually using onions, and then added the half tub of non-dairy soft cream cheese and half pot of oat cream that were needing used up and the results were fantastic. It produced a really light, but rich creamy sauce which enveloped the generous chunks of tender chicken breast and ensured it did not dry out when the pie was being baked.
This recipe makes a beautifully crisp and generously deep-filled chicken and leek pie. And if you have the time and inclination to make it, it will ensure that the people you serve it to will be your most loyal friends for life.
A 320g pack of ready-rolled gluten-free shortcrust pastry
100g green leek tips (thinly sliced) – only the green tips are low FODMAP
1 tbsp butter (or a non-dairy version)
2 chicken stock pots
1/2 tsp of dried rosemary
1/2 a tub of non-dairy or lactose-free soft cheese
200ml oat cream (or lactose-free single cream)
Cooked chicken chopped into generously sized chunks (I used about 2 breasts and a leg’s worth of chicken)
Rice milk (if needed to loosen the sauce up a little, but you can use your own judgement here)
Preheat your oven to 200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6.
Grease and flour (or line with greaseproof paper) a pie tin. (I used this size.)
Unroll the pastry and cut out enough to line the bottom and sides of the pie tin.
Place the pastry in the tin, ensuring that it comes all the way up the sides. If you have baking beans then weigh your pastry down with them, if not, just do without. Put the pastry in the oven and bake until the pastry is golden brown (mine took about 15 mins in a fan oven). Take it out of the oven and leave it to cool.
Meanwhile, put your sliced leek and butter in a large saucepan and cook on a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the leek is soft.
Add the soft cheese, oat cream, petit pois, 2 stock pots and rosemary and simmer until the stock pots have dissolved and the sauce is nice and thick. Feel free to add a bit of rice milk if you feel the sauce is too thick.
Add the cooked chicken chunks to the sauce and gently stir. The chicken absorbed a lot of the sauce when I made it, so if you think you need more sauce then add a bit more milk.
Once you’re happy with the consistency of the pie filling, put it into your cooked pie case.
Roll out the remaining pastry to form a lid for your pie. Don’t worry if there’s not enough pastry to totally cover it, it’s not the end of the world to have an open-lidded or partially-lidded pie and trust me, it’ll still taste awesome (which is the main thing).
Once your lid’s on, put the pie in the oven and bake it until the lid’s golden brown.
We enjoyed our pie simply served with broccoli, but you could add mashed or roasted potatoes and carrots if you wanted the pie to stretch further. It was delicious and there wasn’t a soggy pie bottom in sight!