The ultimate makeover: Chicken pie

The ultimate makeover: Chicken pie

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(104 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


    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, questions and tips

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    26th Jan, 2019
    I'm on a diet, and struggled to find recipes that worked for me, and something the rest of the family liked. This would often lead to me cooking a couple of different dishes, but this pie is a definite all rounder. Husband and teenager loved it! I used a very low salt chicken stock cube, added sweetcorn, and substituted oregano and thyme for the tarragon and I didn't have any. Would like to try it again with added veggies like mushrooms.
    Jo Pellow's picture
    Jo Pellow
    9th Jan, 2019
    I made this pie last night and it was delicious. It makes rather a lot so the girls at work are having some today. I didn't find it a faf and I l know it is supposed to be a healthy recipe but I would try it again using puff pastry instead. Will definitely make this again and it is good enough for a dinner party.
    30th Dec, 2018
    Very nice dish. I added onions, along with the leeks. And then served with roast potatoes and a kale salad. All very tasty.
    29th Jan, 2018
    I made this with leftovers from a roast chicken and added some chestnut mushrooms to pad it out. Instead of cooking the chicken in the stock I just added the veg and then stirred through the cooked chicken at the end. Contrary to other reviews I didn't need any extra cornflour but I didn't bother to separate the veg and liquid I just flung it in and waited for it to thicken, possibly less liquid in mine but I don't like a terribly saucy pie. I found the filo crisped up in a lot less time than the 20-25 mins stated, however that was fine because the filling was hot when it went in. I served mine with colcannon and Brussels sprouts and I'm just so impressed that I can have pie and mash on a calorie contoled diet! Seriously delicious this will be my new favourite for roast chicken leftovers!
    CotswoldMummy's picture
    25th Jan, 2018
    Husband and teenage son adored this. I didn't have leeks and my two don't like them much anyway so used up some broccoli and sugar snaps that I had in and it worked a treat. I didn't use wine but just used extra stock. Also used puff pastry and not filo but all eaten up and loved. Will definitely make again. I have only now just read the comments (!) and would also note that I used more cornflour than the recipe suggested and would use a little more next time (maybe 4 tbsps) as it took a while to thicken and actually I felt it was still a bit runny when it went into the oven but turned out very well.
    30th Nov, 2017
    Oooh, this is just yummy. Minimal effort and maximum flavour. I made mine with a puff pastry too and egg glaze which I popped in the oven for 30 mins. Spot on. I’ll try it with another herb in future as the tarragon is a little overbearing for my taste. I used x 3 tbsp of cornflour/water per others recommendations in the comment section.
    21st Mar, 2017
    It's quite a bit of work and I ended up with pots all over the place but it was worth it, a great pie!
    Chris Fitz
    9th Mar, 2017
    Best pie I've ever made, the only pie I prefer more is a homemade cream pie ;)
    30th Sep, 2015
    Bit faffy but it was really nice and healthy too!
    10th Aug, 2014
    I tried a similar recipe but with shortcrust pastry, you can read my recipe here: :)


    Shareena Baurhoo's picture
    Shareena Baurhoo
    25th Nov, 2018
    Hello. Slight confused. In the ingredients it says to have 450ml chicken stock. But then the method says you should have 500ml??
    goodfoodteam's picture
    27th Nov, 2018
    Thanks for your question. Yes, this is because it's been mixed with the 100ml wine and after cooking it will have reduced a bit. Hope that makes sense!
    14th Dec, 2016
    Can you prepare this recipe and refrigerate to be cooked later, or will it make the pastry soggy.
    16th Feb, 2015
    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
    17th Feb, 2015
    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! 
    7th Apr, 2014
    add mushrooms!
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