Mini chicken pies, ideal for a packed lunch, buffet or, in the summer, a picnic

9 Jul

Here we are again with leftover roast chicken.  I thought, this time, I would make a chicken pie.  I wasn’t sure what to put in the filling but I know leeks go well with chicken, as does tarragon, so I decided to include those in the ingredients.  The other consideration was the calorie content.  As you may remember, I am trying to watch what I eat in a hopeless attempt to lose weight, or at least not to put any more on!  If I make a large pie I know we will keep eating it until it is all gone.  So I decided to make small individual pies.  I was so pleased with the end result.  I’m sure these would freeze well, uncooked, but I made the mistake of putting them all in one muffin pan so I’m going to try freezing them cooked and see how they turn out.  That is if I can stop my husband, Terry, from eating them!

These are perfect for a picnic.  There is something so very English about picnics.  Mrs Beeton certainly thought so, although I think you would need a lorry to carry her idea of a picnic ie it should contain no less than 35 different dishes.  I’m not sure how many guests she had invited. 

Picnics have been quoted in literature for centuries but, perhaps the most famous quote is from the Wind in the Willows:

“The Rat brought the boat alongside the bank, tied it up, helped awkward Mole safely ashore and swung out the picnic basket. The Mole begged to be allowed to unpack it all by himself. He took out all the mysterious packages one by one and arranged their contents, gasping ‘Oh my! Oh my!’ At each fresh surprise”.

Anyway, here is my recipe.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Mini Chicken Pies   Makes about 12

  • 1lb shortcrust pastry (homemade is great or bought is fine)
  • 25g/1oz unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, washed well and chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 500 ml/1 pt semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 250g/1/2lb cooked chicken, cut into small pieces (about 1/2 inch)
  • 50g/2oz frozen peas
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 beaten egg
  1. Preheat an oven to 190c/180c fan/gas 5.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks and saute gently for about 10 minutes until soft but not discoloured.
  3. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute over a low heat.
  4. Gradually add the milk, stirring between each addition to prevent curdling.  Cook over a medium heat, stirring, until the sauce is thickened.  Add the tarragon, and season with salt and black pepper.  Mix well.
  5. Add the chicken and peas, stir so they are evenly distributed.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Roll out the pastry and cut out circles large enough to fill a muffin tin with a little overhang.  Fill the pastry case to just below the top.  Brush edges with beaten egg.  Place lid on top and tuck in around the edge.  Bring over the overhanging pastry to ensure the contents are secure.
  7. Brush tops with the beaten egg.
  8. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and leave in tin for a few minutes.  Remove to a wire tray.  Serve immediately for hot or leave to cool.  Good either way.

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