The ultimate makeover: Chicken pie

The ultimate makeover: Chicken pie

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(68 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 45 mins


Serves 4
Angela Nilsen reinvents a classic recipe to make chicken pie a healthy choice for you

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal320
  • fat10g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs22g
  • sugars7g
  • fibre3g
  • protein34g
  • salt1.37g
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    For the filling

    • 450ml chicken stock, from a cube (I use Kallo, organic)
    • 100ml white wine
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 3 thyme sprigs


      This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

    • 1 tarragon sprig, plus 1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves



      A popular and versatile herb, tarragon has an intense flavour that's a unique mix of sweet…

    • 225g carrots, cut into batons



      The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

    • 4 skinless chicken breasts, 500g/1lb 2oz total weight
    • 225g leeks, sliced



      Like garlic and onion, leeks are a member of the allium family, but have their own distinct…

    • 2 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 2 tbsp water
    • 3 tbsp crème fraîche
    • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
    • 1 heaped tbsp chopped flat-leaf or curly parsley



      One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

    For the topping

    • 70g filo pastry (I used three 39 x 30cm sheets)
    • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
      Rapeseed oil

      Rapeseed oil

      If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…


    1. Pour the stock and wine into a large, wide frying pan. Add the garlic, thyme, tarragon sprig and carrots, bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer for 3 mins. Lay the chicken in the stock, grind over some pepper, cover and simmer for 5 mins. Scatter the leek slices over the chicken, cover again then gently simmer for 10 more mins, so the leeks can steam while the chicken cooks. Remove from the heat and let the chicken sit in the stock for about 15 mins, so it keeps moist while cooling slightly.

    2. Strain the stock into a jug – you should have 500ml (if not, make up with water). Tip the chicken and veg into a 1.5 litre pie dish and discard the herb sprigs. Pour the stock back into the sauté pan, then slowly pour in the cornflour mix. Return the pan to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche, mustard, chopped tarragon and parsley. Season with pepper. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

    3. Tear or cut the chicken into chunky shreds. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture, then stir everything together.

    4. Cut each sheet of filo into 4 squares or rectangles. Layer them on top of the filling, brushing each sheet with some of the oil as you go. Lightly scrunch up the filo so it doesn’t lie completely flat and tuck the edges into the sides of the dish, or lay them on the edges if the dish has a rim. Grind over a little pepper, place the dish on a baking sheet, then bake for 20-25 mins until the pastry is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Serve immediately.

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    Comments (76)

    sarahk's picture

    Followed as instructed (except adding a little more cornflour as suggested by reviewers to thicken sauce). I have never cooked with filo pastry - actually I'm not sure if I have ever eaten filo pastry!. My husaband and I agreed that the pie mixture was very good (I'm not sure it needed the extra thickening and will use just the 2 tblsp of cornflour advised in recipe next time) We agreed that this pie would have tasted much more robust and comforting with a puff pastry - so I will give this a try next time.
    Any quick ideas how to use up the filo pastry I have left. I have frozen blackberries - any ideas?

    winkypi3's picture

    I really enjoyed this recipe, it tastes amazing and is really simple to make, even for an amateur like myself. I wasn't sure on the tarragon as I'm not overly keen on it, but I used it anyway and I'm please I did because it made the pie taste even more special. I agree with earlier comments about adding peas, or mushrooms just to give it some extra substance. Also agree with comments that the sauce wasn't quite as thick as expected and will definitely use more cornflour next time!
    All in all I loved it and I will definitely make it again.

    jennykowalczyk's picture

    This is fab

    jodietaber's picture

    I added celery and some spring onions as had them in the fridge. I only had dried thyme and I didn't use tarragon as I really dislike it. Was very nice and even my filo hating husband enjoyed it!

    peturhh's picture

    Absolutely delicious!

    thecherub's picture

    This was great, my OH loved it even more than me! I almost entirely stuck to the recipe just adding mushrooms to his (I did individual pies). I also left out tarragon as I don't like it. Thought I could have added peas for more veg but it wasnt needed. Will make this again.

    sarahjbayley's picture

    Absolutely beautiful just as it is. Husband loved it as well-he couldn't believe it was low fat. I used left over roast will become a regular in our house

    floranancy's picture

    I did this recipe for 6 and changed the quantities around a bit to use bacon and not carrot. I also made shortcrust pastry instead of filo and it was delicious! Very easy too.

    philarmy's picture

    I love this recipe but it takes me ages to make. Best made at the weekend so it can just be warmed up through the week after work.

    chefchipmunk's picture

    Bit of a faff but well worth it! Served it with braised peas, broad beans and little gem lettuce.

    largomjf's picture

    Delicious. Added thick sliced ham at the same time as the leeks as well as frozen peas with the creme fraiche/mustard etc. Heated on the hob for a few more minutes then simply divided into 3 bowls and ate as was- very tasty and not too filling! Chicken was very tender and, as previously commented, the tarragon really makes the sauce.

    sarahmtango's picture

    Delicious, easy comfort food. Totally fan-flippin-tastic!!!!!!!!!

    wendy_darling's picture

    Really yummy! Didn't have carrots, so I used mushrooms. The chicken was really tender, will try leaving it in the stock again when I make other dishes. Amazingly the stock was exactly 500ml after I strained it but still thought it was a bit thin, so will add more cornflour next time. The pastry sheets fell apart so I just scrunched them up in two layers, it worked and looked good. We are dieting so it was great comfort food with low calories. The family loved it, DH finished ithe leftovers from the pie dish! Served it with sweet potato and celeriac mash and roasted peppers, courgettes and tomatoes.

    christinacarapiet's picture

    I really enjoyed this pie and loved the crispy pastry top. Rather than leeks i used mushrooms which went really well with the creamy sauce. Will definitely do it again!

    rallyjacs's picture

    Just one word YUMMY!!! I am veggie so used Quorn pieces instead of chicken and a veggie oxo in replacement for the chicken stock.
    The sauce was great and the pie was devoured by my non veggie family in record time.
    The fcat that it was healthy was a bonus :o)

    georginamotley's picture

    Really, really good. Tasted very nice- I did make my own pastry and it worked fantastically. Much better than a supermarket frozen version and a lot healthier!

    gxf00u's picture

    Nice dish served with sweet potatoe and butternut squash mash.

    Next time would use puff pastry and slightly increase the amount of sauce.

    fayfumbs's picture

    Great tasting low fat pie. Omitted the wine, but diid add some grilled bacon (fat trimmed of course) to the pie.

    deborahcable's picture

    absolutely delicious! Have tried it now with Puff and Filo pastry, puff definitely best, it adds another depth to the pie. Highly recommended by the whole family including my fussy 4yr old!!

    manyfaced's picture

    Awesome recipe! Made it today for dinner. Used baby carrots, dried Oregano and dried Basilicum instead of tarragon and thyme; puffy pastry instead of filo; light sour cream instead of crème fraîche; honey mustard instead of Dijon mustard (this was not on purpose, just had no Dijon at home). Came out perfect. My husband and I loved it (and my husband would never eat leeks!). A definite keeper! Will try to add a bit of potatoes next time! Thank you so much for the recipe!


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