The ultimate makeover: Chicken pie

The ultimate makeover: Chicken pie

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(69 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)

    Manners44's picture

    Bit faffy but it was really nice and healthy too!

    schaffles's picture

    it was soooooooo good!

    schaffles's picture

    i was a bit skeptical about making this, thought it would be a bit naff but it was so tasty, got my friend licking the plate clean!!!!! i also added a bunch of cup mushrooms, and having a glass of wine while cooking ensures it will taste 100% better than it already does (although it was tasty anyway)... slight effort but will DEFINITELY be making this again!

    sllyst's picture

    I had high hopes for this. My low calorie diet was taking it's toll on my resolve but this pie was light, filling and tasty considering how healthy it is. Yes it is a bit of faffing about but i would make it again.

    mrswright_x's picture

    It's quite lovely after all the waiting around! I didn't have any creme fraiche or dijon mustard, so instead I used American mustard and a can of green lentils which thickened it up and added a bit more heartiness to it. I think I'd add a bit less tarragon next time as the flavour is quite overpowering, but would definitely make it again!

    jcweller's picture

    The flavour of the filling was really nice and the filo topping was a good change from heavier pastries. The chicken however turned out really tough - I'm not sure how this was the case as I followed the recipe and I would have thought poaching it would have resulted in some lovely meat. I will try again but perhaps using leftover roast chicken.

    llighton's picture

    Fantastic recipe which I have used twice in a week after it featured in Good Food healthy eating plan. I followed the recipe exactly except for making four individual pies rather than one big one. Truly delicious and shows that eating healthily doesn't have to be dreary.

    kirstienic's picture

    Very good - the only give away that it might be healthy is the filo topping. I made the filling in advance when I had time and put in the fridge, then I just topped it with the filo and put it in the oven when I got in from work (it needed arouond 5 minutes longer to heat through) for a quick mid week meal. The tarragon really makes it flavourwise - it tasted great and my husband and kids loved it too.

    japhie's picture

    I made this for me and my girlfriend last night and it was yummy! I didn't have the herbs or creme fraiche in the fridge so used some curry powder, spices and tinned tomatoes instead. Then i left out the carrots and stirred in some garam masala instead of the mustard. In the end i decided to leave out the pastry and serve with rice and chopped coriander instead of the parsley. Will definitely make again!

    kimnpat's picture

    that's sounds nice but if your honest you didn't make the pie at all did you! well done tho :0)

    Grace Lehane's picture

    So basically you made a curry????

    jenny019's picture

    This recipe is so good!
    I decided to ladle the mixture onto the filo and made 4 filo parcels instead of a pie.
    I cooked two and saved the other two in the fridge to have the next night. I looked forward to them all day.

    jackandstuart's picture

    Made this tonight for a family dinner and it went down a storm. The filo adds a nice lighter touch but overall the pie still feels very hearty. Will be making this again.

    brummers11's picture

    used puff pastry instead and was delicious! Even pleased my mum and dad with this around christmas time!

    jernlm's picture

    Sorry, I didn't like it! Tasted really bland, don't know where it went wrong but won't bother again:(

    missbakewell's picture

    But you gave it a misleading 5 stars!

    jwadley's picture

    Me and my mum made this for my dads birthday, and I have to say, it was really nice, quite easy to make, and there was a lot of waiting at the start. Pastry was difficult to handle and easily ripped, serve with mash, mini sweetcorn and peapods

    pfj1957's picture

    I didn't want to open a bottle of White Wine but, as always, I found that Cider makes a good alternative. I also added 125g of exotic mushrooms to the chicken and added a tin of mixed peas/carrots instead of leeks as I had no leeks in the fridge. Everything else was keep the same expect the cooking time was shortened due to no leeks to be softened.

    The result was an excellent pie which i will be extemporizing on in the future - I quite fancy trying it with shallots instead of leeks.


    Questions (2)

    AMLUX's picture

    Is this recipe suitable for freezing? I'm having a dinner party on Thursday and wanted to make it ahead of time... could I cook it on Tuesday and keep it in the fridge/freezer until Thursday?

    goodfoodteam's picture

    Hi AMLUX, thanks for getting in touch. We would suggest you don't freeze this recipe as the freezing process could make the texture of the sauce grainy and unpleasant. However, if you want to get ahead you should be fine to cook everything up until adding the pastry - so cook the chicken, add the sauce then cool, cover and refridgerate the dish. Add the pastry before you want to bake it (from step 4). Hope this helps, have a great dinner party! 

    Tips (1)

    schaffles's picture

    add mushrooms!