Mega-Comfort Chicken & Leek Pie with Paris Mash


Well here we all are again then - some of us anyway! We flew back in from Tokyo yesterday morning and zombied around the house, washed mountains of clothes, picked up the dogs from the kennels and went to the supermarket - all that catch up stuff - the only abnormal thing was there were no lovely man-boys in the house. Rich is still in Madagascar until next Wednesday, and Henry, who would normally be in Wellington working or at uni, is in Melbourne celebrating Josh's 21st birthday. It sounds like Rich's adventure has been incredible, one of those life-changing trips that forever alters the way you see the world, while Henry is getting amongst the cool vibe of Melbourne like a pig in mud. Our trip to Shanghai/Kyoto/Tokyo was bloody fantastic, and I have totally fallen in love with Japan - and it's gorgeous people, but more on that later! (Blog post coming soon) In the meantime we have arrived back to an almighty winter cold snap, and I thought it timely to post this update on my Chicken and Leek Pie recipe I put together for Fairfax, complete with really naughty creamy, buttery Paris mash - I am thinking it might be just the go for many around the southern hemisphere this weekend, and also probably for Rich's welcome home meal given he has been living off rice and veges for the last month.

It's good to be back - it might be a day or two (I have soooo much work to do) but a blog post on the big trip will be up soon!





1 onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
2 sticks celery, finely chopped
1 large or 2 small leeks, trimmed and sliced 
2 Bay leaves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 cup good quality chicken stock
¼ cup flour
½ cup whole milk
600g cooked shredded chicken (left-over roasted or poached is great)
500g flaky or puff pastry
Rice Bran oil spray
1 egg, lightly whisked with 1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

Heat butter in a large heavy based pan and cook onion, carrot, celery, leeks, bay leaves, and salt and pepper over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes until softened. Add thyme, ground cloves and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Cover and cook 10 minutes over a medium heat, remove the lid and cook a further 10 minutes. Lower heat to gentle and sprinkle over flour. Stir well with a wooden spoon, adding 1/2 cup more chicken stock and milk. Cook a last 5 minutes over a medium heat, or until thickened. Cool and add chicken. Store in the fridge while spraying a 25cm (or equivalent) metal pie dish with light olive or rice bran oil and lining it with pastry. Spoon pie filling into the pastry shell, then cover with a pastry 'lid' - as you do, ensure the lid is a little larger than necessary, then squash the edges together with your thumb before trimming. Make a couple of holes in the top with the tip of a sharp knife for steam to escape, decorate as you wish with pastry cut outs, brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Pop in the fridge for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 180˚C (350˚F). Cook for 1 hour until the pastry is golden and flaky. Serves 6



6 large floury potatoes (I used approx 1.1 kilos Agria potatoes), peeled
80g butter, cut into cubes
1 cup cream
1 cup whole milk
30g butter extra (optional)
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper


Cut potatoes into large even quarters, put in a pot and cover with water. Add 1/4 tsp regular salt, cover, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a sharp knife. Drain really well. If you don’t have a potato ricer, mash as you usually would, adding milk heated with cream, and butter, salt and pepper. If you do have a ricer, press the potato quarters through it into a clean bowl. Heat milk and cream and mix through potatoes with butter until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately or leave to cool. I never serve mash immediately once it is made, I put it aside, poking the extra piece of butter into the middle. Once I am ready, I just reheat it in the microwave and the extra butter melts into the middle ensuring it stays rich and smooth. Serves 6

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