Chicken and Leek Pie

This is the first in a series of 4 –  February is Pie Month! I am going to cook a pie a week and have invited friends over each week to help me eat them. This week, a classic chicken and leek, called for some reason, leek and chicken. (From Reader’s Digest Cookery Year (1976), from the March chapter by Katie Stewart.)



  • This is a very straightforward. I had no problems at any point. This is such a wonderful, reliable book, I feel I know what I’m doing at all times.
  • I used a 1.8kilo chicken.
  • I don’t own a proper pie dish and decided to use a casserole dish but this necessitated using a pie-steam-releasing-whatnot.
  • I have never cooked with lard before! I intend to freeze the leftover lard in portions so I don’t feel obliged to use it all up in the next 2 weeks. Keep solid fats to a minimum, kids!
  • I decided to go off-recipe when I came to decoration and side-dishes. I made mashed potatoes and squash with caramelised onions and spring greens with bacon.


I was just a little bit proud of this as I have never made shortcrust pastry or poached a chicken before – the pastry was light and finely crumbly (claggy pastry was my biggest fear) and the leeks and chicken were perfectly cooked and as flavoursome as one would hope, given the small amount of seasoning. The recipe suggests too much cream – there was some leftover at the bottom of the dish – I think about half the amount suggested would be fine. The pie was served to 3 peckish friends who demolished it and whose only criticism was that a bit more flavour, in the form of more herbs in the stock, would be welcome. When I cook this again, I will certainly do this, as well as adding some wine when I poach the chicken.

Next week: Limoges Potato Pie

Edit: Limoges Potato Pie cancelled due to illness. Alix is pie-ing instead! Also, our friend Miss South, at North/South Food, had a go at the same recipe.

Pied by Elly

14 responses to “Chicken and Leek Pie

  1. Katy Stewart – mega-reliable. Her recipes will WORK .

    Solid Flora, Trex or even Cookeen are all vegetable equivalents of lard, i.e. 100% fat.

  2. Carsmilesteve

    Also lard doesn’t go off, it’ll be fine in the fridge for pretty much ever…

    Alsoalso mmmm, pie…

  3. I just checked the ‘use by’ date and it’s November this year!

  4. If you forget it’s there, the birds’ll love for Christmas.

  5. What makes a pie dish different and means you don’t need a wee steamy thing in the centre of your pie? I was thinking of making a pie this weekend, but I think I might not have the right dish…

  6. Pie dishes are shallower with a thicker rim. Having cooked it, I reckon this recipe gets round that by recommending you run a strip of pastry round the top edge of the dish and sticking the pastry lid to it.

    As for steam, I think cutting small slits in the pastry will probably let enough steam out.

  7. Yes, pie dishes have a flat wide edge, 1cm approx. It’s always a good idea to put a strip of pastry on the rim, moisten it, then put on the lid -a thicker layer of pastry round the edge is less likely to burn.

    Steam vents – help prevent filling overflow.

    Pastry shrinks, so beware of stretching it too tight or thin. [I’ll shut up now.]

  8. All hail the pie! Also all hail the side dishes.

  9. Yes! I love my copy of the Reader’s Digest Cookery Year although I’m still working up the courage to cook the curried lamb’s brains with halved grapes (white or red, chef’s choice) served on a bed of toast. Their prawn cocktail recipe is, however, definitive.

    Your pie looks delicious by the way.

  10. Hello Jimbaud, (ha – puns!) I concur totally that the range of recipes in the RD CY is truly the sublime to the ridiculous.

  11. I’m just glad that I’ve found somewhere on the internet to gush unselfconciously about my love of the watercolour illustrations in RDCY. I particularly like the crustaceans.

  12. I’m on my second copy of the Reader’s Digest Cookery Year, the first one fell apart after years of use. I just love it, especially the recipe for caremelised oranges.

  13. Liz – I treasure my copy! Bought it for the illustrations – keep going back to it for the reliability and variety.

  14. Pingback: The Life of Pie | North/South Food: Looking for the Perfect Eat