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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    29th Mar, 2013
    13th Feb, 2013
    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.
    10th Feb, 2013
    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.
    30th Jan, 2013
    used puff pastry instead and was delicious! Even pleased my mum and dad with this around christmas time!
    20th Jan, 2013
    Sorry, I didn't like it! Tasted really bland, don't know where it went wrong but won't bother again:(
    5th Nov, 2014
    But you gave it a misleading 5 stars!
    3rd Jan, 2013
    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
    19th Dec, 2012
    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.
    9th Dec, 2012
    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?
    15th Nov, 2012
    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.


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