Chicken, Leek and Prune Pie (4-6)

A pie worthy of a celebration from Nigel Slater.

Chicken, Leek and Prune Pie (4-6)
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Chicken, Leek and Prune Pie (4-6)
Print Recipe
  1. You will also need a round 28cm baking tin.Warm the oil in a deep-sided pan, add the chicken and let it lightly brown on both sides, turning it once or twice to ensure an even colour. Once the outside is golden brown, remove the chicken and let it rest on a plate.
  2. Trim the leeks, discarding the darkest green ends of the leaves, slice them into rounds 1-2cm thick, then wash them thoroughly in a colander under cold running water.
  3. Shake the leeks dry, add them to the pan in which you browned the chicken and let them cook over a low to moderate heat, lid on, for 10-15 minutes until they have softened a little. Stir occasionally to prevent them from browning.
  4. Stir in the curry powder and continue cooking for a couple of minutes, then add the prunes, curry leaves, chopped parsley and peppercorns, lightly cracked – use a pestle or heavy weight, but don’t grind them to a fine powder – then pour in the water or stock and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, add the chicken and leave to simmer for 35 minutes.
  5. Warm the milk almost to boiling point in a small pan then remove from the heat. In a separate pan, melt the butter, add the flour and stir over a moderate heat for a couple of minutes until pale biscuit- coloured.
  6. Add the milk in small amounts, stirring until smooth with a wooden spoon – I use a whisk to beat out any annoying lumps – then stir in a couple of ladles of the stock from the chicken pan.
  7. Remove the chicken and slice it into strips, then add it to the sauce. Combine with the leeks and aromatics and check the seasoning: it will need salt. The consistency should be thick and creamy. If not, then let it simmer until it is.
  8. Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Place a large baking sheet in the oven to get hot. (It will help your tart to develop a crisp base.) Brush the base of the baking tin with a little of the melted butter.
  9. Generously butter 2 leaves of pastry, then place them in the tin, letting them hang over the sides. Repeat, placing the pastry at a slight angle to the others, again letting their excess length hang over the edges. Continue buttering and layering until you have used up all the pastry.
  10. Spoon the chicken filling into the dish then fold the buttered overhanging pastry over the top to create a crust. (They won’t quite cover the top of the pie, leaving a hole in the centre, which is fine.) Place the dish on the hot baking sheet in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until the pastry is deep brown and crisp.
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