This rustic chicken and leek pot pie is a real showstopper. It bakes up deliciously creamy and aromatic wrapping you in a comforting blanket of savory warmth.
Chilly nights are tapping on the windows reminding us that it is time to winterize the outbuildings and harvest the last of the garden before the first frost. Today I brought in the last of my leeks and am making some stews to freeze for those busy nights when cooking isn’t an option. The rest is going into a rustic chicken and leek pot pie, a classic comfort food, to console me as I ready myself for the brittle winter season.
Leek vs Onion:
Let’s face it leeks are just sexier than onions. They are more vibrant just as versatile and taste sweeter with a delicate earthy flavor that elevates the dish. Leeks are delicious on their own and can be served grilled, roasted, or sauteed. Yet they offer many versatile options by replacing onions, chives, shallots, and even garlic in recipes. I love them so much I plant a row or two of leeks every planting season and enjoy them all season long. I use the young green plants in light soups in the spring, stir them into fresh pastas on warm summer nights, and give my thick stews and pot pies more depth on chilly fall nights. Just remember no matter when you use them or for what, wash the leeks thoroughly. Dirt likes to play a mean game of hide and seek hiding between the many layers.
A Mushroom by Any Other Name:
Which mushrooms should you use? Some mushrooms take to one cooking method better than others. Some are meatier than others, but for the most part, they’re interchangeable. My personal favorite in this chicken and leek pot pie is Cremini mushrooms (baby bellas). Cremini mushrooms are the same variety as button mushrooms but offer one growth stage more giving them a complex and savory flavor, If you are buying ingredients for this recipe pick up the baby bellas. Otherwise go ahead and use whatever you have in your refrigerator.
Chicken and Leek Pot Pie
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 skinless chicken breasts
- 3 leeks
- 4 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1¾ cup milk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 – 2 sprigs fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grind black pepper
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- Wash and slice the leeks. Slice the mushrooms. Set aside.
- Dice the chicken. Place in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper; toss to mix.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat just to shimmering. Carefully add the chicken, working in batches, sautéed to a golden brown. Remove chicken to a bowl and set aside. Add the leeks and mushrooms to the skillet. Turn heat down to medium. Sauté 5-10 minutes until the leek is tender. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel. Melt the butter in the skillet, sprinkle in the flour and stir on a low heat until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk, whisking until all the milk has been added. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until a smooth, thick, white sauce. Stir in mustard.
- Stir in the chicken, leeks, mushrooms, oregano, salt and pepper until blended. Turn into a 9” cast iron skillet, or 5” individual pie pans. Remove the pastry from the package and give it a quick roll, to about the thickness of a nickel, on a lightly floured work surface. Cut the pastry into 10 even strips. Using a basket weave pattern crisscross the stripes covering the skillet. Crimp or decorate the top with the off-cuts, and transfer to a baking tray.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden brown and crisp. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve.