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Chicken & Leek Pie

This recipe I created and tested last weekend when I had my lovely family over for lunch on Saturday. It’s a hearty winter meal, great for making on the weekend as it does take a little bit more time and preparation. This recipe does contain dairy, I’ve used organic pecorino cheese and organic butter in this meal. This recipe can easily be adapted to make it dairy free, simply leave out the pecorino cheese and use olive oil instead of butter in the pie crust, about 1/4 cup of olive oil would do.

Happy sprouting, baking and cooking!

x Danielle

Chicken & Leek Pie

Ingredients

Serves: I get 10 large pieces out of this pie and I serve it with a fresh salad on the side
Time: 2 hours

For the pie crust:
200g almond meal
100g coconut flour
30g organic pecorino cheese (finely grated)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
100g organic butter at room temperature (cut into small cubes)
2 organic free-range eggs

For the filling:
2 free-range chicken breasts cut into medium chunks
olive oil
good knob of butter
1 white onion finely diced
1 red onion finely diced
2 leeks sliced thinly and washed
3 carrots finely diced
2 handfuls of sliced swiss brown mushrooms
3 bay leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
2 cloves of garlic crushed
salt and white pepper
splash of free-range chicken stock
zest of 1 lemon
30g pecorino cheese finely grated

For the topping:
1 large sweet potato (skin on) cut into large cubes
1 clove of garlic crushed
2 sprigs of thyme
olive oil
salt and pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine the almond meal, coconut flour and pecorino cheese, season with a pinch of salt and pepper (go easy with the salt because the pecorino cheese also adds that salty flavour).

Now rub in the olive oil and butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs and no lumps of butter remain.

Make a well in the centre, add the 2 eggs and mix until combined. The dough that is formed isn’t the kind of dough that you can roll out, its very crumbly, which is what we want!

Grease a large ceramic baking tray (Mine was 35cm by 25cm in size) with butter.

Crumble the pastry mixture evenly across the bottom of the tray.

You now want to press the mixture into the base of the tray and also up around the sides. Make sure that the pie base and sides are of the same thickness.

Blind bake the pastry (no need to use any weights or beans to hold it down) in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown, and then set aside.

If the edge of the pastry goes brown first but the base isn’t cooked yet, then cover the pie lightly in aluminium foil and put it back in the oven.

This way the base will cook without continuing to darken the edges.

While the pie base is blind baking in the oven prepare the topping and filling.

For the topping:
Boil the sweet potato in a large pan of water until tender. Drain it, place it back in the pan, add the garlic, thyme, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roughly mash all these ingredients together and set aside. I like my mash very rustic so I don’t bother mashing it until its smooth.

For the filling:
In a large and deep frying pan heat the olive oil and brown and seal the chicken, then remove from pan and set aside.

Do not cook the chicken the whole way through, you only want to seal and brown it, the rest of the cooking will occur in the pie.

In the same pan add the butter, onions, leeks, carrots, mushrooms, bay leaves, thyme and garlic, then season with salt and pepper.

Cook this on a medium heat for 20 minutes or until the mixture has begun to caramelise, this will bring out the flavour and sweetness in the vegetables.

Add the chicken back to the pan, along with a splash of chicken stock, the pecorino cheese and the zest of one lemon.

Do not put too much chicken stock in, only enough to bring all the ingredients together. Too much chicken stock and your pie base will go soggy!

Remove the pan from the heat, remove the 3 bay leaves and put mixture aside to cool down.

Assembling the pie:
Once the filling has cooled down pour it into the pie base.

Top with the sweet potato mash, smooth this across the top of the pie and top with another grating of pecorino cheese.

Place pie back into the oven for 15-20 minutes at 180 degrees.

Once the pie is done I set it aside for 10 minutes before slicing it. This allows the pie to cool down, it will still be warm when you serve it but will hold together much better.

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