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    Individual Chicken Pies

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    Individual Chicken Pies

    These taste best if made the day before. Ideally, make your own pastry by rubbing 170g unsalted butter into 340g plain flour with a pinch of salt until it forms fine breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to form a rough dough when mixed with a fork then lightly knead and chill for 30 minutes before rolling. Otherwise, buy ready-made shortcrust pastry.

    Makes: 12


    • 750g shortcrust pastry
    • 2 leeks, washed and finely sliced
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 85g washed watercress
    • 2 medium egg yolks
    • 140ml double cream
    • 1 heaped tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
    • 1/4 tablespoon roughly chopped tarragon
    • 2 boned and skinned chicken breasts
    • 1/2 small egg beaten with
    • 1/2 tablespoon milk
    • Salt
    • ground black pepper


    1. Roll out the pastry and cut into 24 circles, each 10cm in diameter. Layer between greaseproof paper and chill for 30 minutes while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Any leftover pastry can be cut into leaves for decoration.
    2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Gently fry the leeks in olive oil until just soft, then allow to cool slightly. Pick the leaves from the watercress and place in a food processor with the eggs, cream, mustard and tarragon. Whiz a few times to finely chop the watercress, then tip into a bowl. Trim the chicken and cut into strips. Mix into the watercress cream with the leeks. Season lightly.
    3. Set out 12 pastry circles and brush their outer rim with the egg/milk glaze. Divide the chicken mixture between them, then cover with the remaining pastry circles. Neatly seal the pies together with a teaspoon or fork, then cut a small hole in each and, if you wish, decorate with leaves cut from the pastry trimmings. Set on two non-stick baking trays and brush with the glaze. Bake for 25 minutes. They can be served hot, warm or cold. Keep refrigerated once cold. Try serving from paper bags.

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