This pie is a favourite treat I make for myself. This recipe serves four but it can easily be made in 3-4 single portions, and frozen ready to be pulled out for a perfect supper for one when you’re home alone.


350g free -range chicken pieces, legs and thighs, on the bone

1 shallot

2 pieces celery

6 black peppercorns

1 bay leaf

4-6 parsley stalks

Scant teaspoon sea salt or a chicken stock cube

For the sauce

75g unsalted butter

4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped

White of a large leek, washed and sliced into thin rings

200g button mushrooms, rinsed and sliced

1 tablespoon flour

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Single cream

A few sprigs tarragon

Readymade puff pastry

Egg yolk to wash


Cover the chicken with cold water, bring to a gentle simmer, taking a minute to skim off any scum. Add the shallot, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf and parsley stalks and salt and simmer with the lid partly on for 20-25 minutes. Strain the stock, discarding the flavourings, and set aside. Remove the skin and bones from the cooked chicken, flake into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

For the sauce

Warm the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped bacon, turning until it starts to brown. Add the sliced leeks and, with the lid on, sweat for 10 minutes or so until softened.

Add the sliced mushrooms, and a little more butter if needed, and stir until they start to release their juices. Stir in the flour and Dijon mustard and cook for 5 minutes until the flour has been absorbed.

Now warm the stock and gradually add this to the mixture to build up the thickened sauce for the pie. Warming the stock prevents lumps forming, but don’t worry if there are some, they will cook out as the pie bakes. Add enough cream until the sauce gets the right consistency – juicy and thick but not too dry. Finally add the chicken pieces and tarragon. Season to taste. Set aside to cool. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400F/Gas 5.

Lay the filling in a pie dish and cover with the ready rolled pastry. Crimp and seal the sides with your fingers. I use a ceramic bird to support the pastry in the middle. Looks fun as well. Brush the pastry with an egg wash and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is browned and crispy, covering the pastry with greaseproof paper if it is browning too much.