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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    20th May, 2012
    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.
    2nd May, 2012
    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!
    22nd Apr, 2012
    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)
    5th Apr, 2012
    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!
    27th Mar, 2012
    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
    17th Mar, 2012
    Great tasting low fat pie. Omitted the wine, but diid add some grilled bacon (fat trimmed of course) to the pie.
    13th Mar, 2012
    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
    7th Mar, 2012
    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!
    19th Feb, 2012
    Made this for Sunday dinner. Family really enjoyed it. Will def make it again.
    6th Feb, 2012
    This is one that I keep coming back to, the whole family love it. I add sweetcorn to it and use puffed pastry sometimes too. Delicious.


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