The ultimate makeover: Chicken pie

The ultimate makeover: Chicken pie

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(97 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, questions and tips

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    7th Apr, 2014
    it was soooooooo good!
    7th Apr, 2014
    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
    6th Feb, 2014
    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.
    30th Jan, 2014
    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!
    13th Jan, 2014
    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.
    12th Jan, 2014
    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.
    8th Jan, 2014
    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.
    25th Oct, 2013
    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!
    30th Nov, 2013
    that's sounds nice but if your honest you didn't make the pie at all did you! well done tho :0)
    Grace Lehane
    7th Nov, 2013
    So basically you made a curry????


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