If the thought of dieting in January is a bit too much to get your head around, get stuck into this hearty comfort food instead!
- Equipment: 1 x 2-litre ovenproof pie dish; heart-shaped pastry cutter
- 45g butter
- 35ml olive oil
- 4 large leeks, sliced into fat rounds
- 2 large shallots, finely diced
- (or an onion will do)
- 500g free-range chicken meat
- (a mix of breast and thigh), chopped into rough chunks
- 300g good-quality cooked ham, roughly chopped
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves
- stripped and finely chopped
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves, stripped and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 300ml hot good-quality chicken stock
- 200ml single cream
- 150g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 rounded tbsp Dijon mustard
- A little plain flour, for dusting
- 800g all-butter puff pastry
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6.
2. Heat 35g of the butter with the olive oil in a large, deep, heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add the leeks and shallots, stir well and cover. Lower the heat and cook for 7–8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
3. Add the chicken and increase the heat. Stir frequently for about 6 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove from the heat and add the ham and herbs. Give it all a good stir, then add the flour and stir to coat.
4. Add the stock, stir well and return the pan to the heat. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 2–3 minutes, to thicken. Remove from the heat, add the cream, cheese and mustard and stir well. Taste your filling and season with a little salt and black pepper if needed. Leave to cool.
5. Using the remaining butter, lightly grease your ovenproof dish. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out two-thirds of the pastry (about 500g) to about 3mm thick and use it to line the dish, letting the pastry drape over the sides. Pile in the cooled filling.
6. Dust the work surface with more flour, then roll out the remaining pastry to about 1cm thick and cover the whole pie with it, allowing the pastry to come just over the edges. Trim away any excess and press the edges together with your fingers to seal, or use the back of a fork. If you’ve got time and are feeling confident, you can crimp the edges. Generously glaze the top with beaten egg.
7. Scrunch up the pastry trimmings and roll them out to about 3mm thick. Cut out some heart shapes and decorate the top of the pie with them, glazing with more beaten egg.
8. Bake the pie on a baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4 and bake for another 20 minutes or until the top is puffy and golden. Serve immediately with a big bowl of garden peas topped with fresh mint and a knob of butter.
Recipes from The Higgidy Cookbook by Camilla Stephens (Quercus £16.00)
Check out more Winter Warmer recipes in our gallery below