Recipe: Welsh granny's chicken pie

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The Independent Online
The last of our pie recipes comes from Adrian Tierney-Jones of Chedzoy, Somerset. ''I've adapted it from Jane Grigson's English Cookery,'' he writes, ''but it's a Welsh dish which I wish my grandmother had made for me often.'' He will receive a bottle of 1991 Rully Champs Cloux.

Chicken and leek pie

Serves 6

Ingredients: For the filling: 1lb (450g) chicken fillets, sliced into chunks

1lb (450g) leeks

2 garlic gloves, peeled and minced

2tbs chopped celery

2 rashers of smoked back

bacon, chopped

onion, peeled and chopped

bouquet garni

1/2 tsp thyme, chopped

4oz (120ml) sherry

1/2 pt (300ml) chicken stock

salt and pepper

olive oil


1 egg

For the pastry: 8oz (220g) plain flour

4oz (110g) butter

Preparation: Wash, chop and steam leeks. Heat frying pan, add 1tbs olive oil, then a small knob of butter. Gently sweat onions in covered pan until they are melting, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, then cook slightly faster, until they turn lightly golden. Reserve on plate. Adding more fat to the pan if necessary, quickly saute the chicken, add celery, steamed leeks and bacon. Cook gently for another five minutes, then return onions and garlic to pan, add sherry, chicken stock, bouquet garni and thyme. Cook over a medium to high heat to reduce stock. As it cooks down to a rich syrup, adjust seasoning.

Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C/gas 4. Mix a pinch of salt into the flour. Cut up butter and rub into flour until it reaches the consistency of breadcrumbs. Gradually add cold water (about 4-5tbs), kneading it in, until you have a pliable dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out about five eighths of the dough to line a 9in pie dish (just leave the rest somewhere cool and out of harm's way). Once lined, slip pie dish into the freezer for 5-8 minutes.

Whisk egg. Remove pastry dish and prick bottom. Blind bake for 10 minutes, then brush with a light egg coating and return to oven for 3-5 minutes. Remove, then increase oven to 400F/200C/ gas 6. Fill pie shell with chicken mix (removing the bouquet garni) and pour over its liquor. Roll out remaining pastry, cover pie, crimp edges, and apply egg wash. Prick top to release steam, reduce oven to 350F/180C/gas 4 and bake for 30 minutes.