You can't beat this pie. In fact so amazing is it that we have an unwritten pact with our friends that whenever one family makes pie the other has to come over to help them eat it. I think it's the one meal that every single one of the children eats without fuss, leaving us grown ups able to have some semblance of a conversation.
Because of the fact that my boys will eat this pie, which is full of sweet leeks and lovely juicy chicken, without whinging I hope they won't mind that I've made a mini version that they can have for tea without the rest of us. I can't always be bothered to make pie, especially in the week. But when I can I can make a batch of these and freeze two for a day when I can't be faffed to cook.
To make four mini pies you will need:
2 rashers of bacon - chopped 3 large leeks - washed and sliced A sprig of thyme 6 chicken thighs - trimmed and cut into small bite sized pieces 1 heaped tablespoon of plain flour 500ml chicken stock 2 heaped tablepsoons creme fraiche 1 pack all butter puff pastry 1 egg beaten
If you want to make one big pie to serve 6 adults double everything but the pastry and egg.
Pre heat your oven to 180c. Heat a lug of olive oil in a saucepan and add the bacon. Fry until it starts to crisp up. Add the leeks and the thyme and a little salt and pepper. Give it a good stir and pop on a lid. Turn the heat down and leave to soften for 30 minutes, stirring from time to time.
When your leeks are soft and sweet add your chicken and stir. Sprinkle over the flour, cook for a minute and stir through the chicken stock. Next stir in the creme fraiche and bring to the boil. Cook for a few minutes to thicken the sauce slightly.
Pour your chicken mixture into a sieve over a large pan to catch the lovely gravy. Then spoon your chicken and leeks into four individual ramekins. If you want to freeze your pies leave them to cool right down before putting the pastry on.
Roll out your pastry and cut four circles large enough to cover your ramekin tops with a little left over around the edge. Brush the top of the pot and slightly down the sides with the beaten egg and lay the pastry on top, gently press down around the sides to seal your pie. You'll have plenty of pastry left over for decorations and to make the turnovers I made last week.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is crisp and the chicken is cooked through. Reheat your gravy,
If you freeze your pies you'll need to defrost them in the fridge overnight and then bake them for 20-25 minutes.
Serve with mash and peas and plenty of the lovely gravy.
Recipe adapted from one by Jamie Oliver.