There is nothing much more comforting than chicken, ham and leeks covered in a blanket of bechamel sauce topped with flakey shortcrust pastry. You can, of course use ready-made pastry for this but making your own is so easy, much more delicious and much more satisfying. You could also use leftover cooked chicken and ready-cooked ham if you've got some already. You can get your chicken in our shop.
Makes a pie that will feed 6 hungry people.
For the béchamel:
100g plain flour
Around 300ml chicken stock
Around 300ml milk*
Salt and pepper
*these quantities are approximate as I've never needed the same amount twice!
For the pastry:
150g very cold butter, cut into cubes
250g plain flour
1 large egg
A splash of cold water
For the filling:
1 medium whole chicken, around 1.5kg
Around 200g ham, shredded or cut into cubes
2 leeks, cleaned and ends trimmed
Small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
1 medium white onion, finely sliced
1 tablespoon butter
Start by making the pastry. If you have a food processor, place the butter, salt and flour in the bowl with a chopping blade and pulse until you have a fine breadcrumb consistency. Add the egg and pulse until you have a dough. You may need to add a splash of water. If you don't have a food processor, you can do this by hand by rubbing the butter and flour together with your fingertips in a bowl then adding the egg and water to form a dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Place the chicken on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for around an hour until the juices run clear when pierced.
Meanwhile, make the béchamel. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan. Once fully melted, beat in the flour with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Keeping the heat gentle, gradually add the milk and stock a little at a time, alternating each one. Make sure all the lumps are gone before adding more liquid. Use a whisk if you're struggling. The sauce will thicken as it heats so keep stirring and make sure you get right to the corners of the pan. Stop when you have a sauce around custard consistency and it won't thicken any more. Season with salt and pepper and pour in any juices from the roast chicken.
Preheat the oven to 180C
In a separate pan, melt the remaining butter then add the onions and leeks. Cook over a gently heat, stirring occasionally until the leeks are soft and the onions translucent. Add to the bechamel sauce along with the chicken, ham and chopped parsley.
Spoon the mixture into a deep pie or baking dish. If you haven't got one you could use a large, oven-proof saucepan.
Roll out the pastry and cut into a shape slightly larger than your dish (pastry shrinks when it cooks). Gently lift on top of the dish and press down the edges with a fork or your fingers.
Brush the pastry with the beaten egg. Use a pastry brush if you have one, if not, just use a spoon and your fingers.
Bake for around 40 minutes until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Serve with creamy mash and some green veg.