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    Martha Collison's chicken pie

    • Preparation time: 45 minutes + cooling
    • Cooking time: 35 minutes to 40 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 25 minutes + cooling

    Serves: 4 - 6


    1.5 litres chicken stock
    4 free range chicken breast fillets
    75g butter
    2 rashers streaky smoked bacon, finely chopped
    2 leeks, finely chopped
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    2 tbsp plain flour
    75ml white wine
    100ml double cream
    100g thick cut spring greens
    Waitrose British Blacktail Free Range Egg, beaten, for brushing

    300g plain flour
    75g butter
    75g lard
    Large handful green herbs – leaves only (I use tarragon, thyme and basil)


    1. Begin by making the pastry. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and the herbs are roughly chopped. Add 2 tbsp cold water and pulse until the mixture begins to clump together, then tip out onto a sheet of clingfilm, shape into a ball, flatten to a disc and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (Or, to make the pastry by hand, finely chop the herbs before mixing all the ingredients and rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the water and continue as above.)

    2. Meanwhile, fill a large pan or casserole dish with the chicken stock, cover and bring to the boil. Once the stock is simmering, add the chicken fillets. Poach the chicken gently for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through, there is no pink meat and the juices run clear. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a plate. Use 2 forks to pull apart the chicken into fine shreds, and cover loosely with foil. Reserve 350ml of the poaching stock into a large jug to use in the sauce.

    3. Return the pan to the heat, melt 25g of the butter and fry the bacon until just starting to crisp. Add the remaining butter with the leeks and garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. When the leeks have softened slightly, stir in the flour so it coats all the ingredients in the pan. Slowly begin to add the warm reserved stock, stirring all the time until a thick sauce begins to form. Add the white wine, then simmer the sauce for 5-10 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.

    4. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cream, spring greens and shredded chicken. Season well, spoon the chicken mixture into a deep 22cm pie dish. Cover and chill until the filling is completely cold. You can do this up to 3 days in advance.

    5. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out into a large rectangle or round (depending on the shape of your pie dish) around 0.5cm thick. Get the filled pie dish out of the fridge, brush the rim with beaten egg and lay the pastry over the top, pressing around the rim of the dish to seal the edges. Trim any excess pastry with a knife, and make a small cut in the centre of the pie. Brush the top with beaten egg and place into the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and the filling is piping hot. Serve immediately.

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