Chicken Pie with Parmesan Crust. When the children were young, one of their favourite easy suppers was little chicken pies made by our local butcher. During the lockdown, two fully grown-up versions pleaded with me to re-create that chicken pie, comfort food, whisperings of childhood and possibly one of those meals that are far too easy to eat in huge quantities.
The little pies were not that great, actually thick and glutenous, so I was determined to create something a little more grown-up. This version has a rich but not creamy sauce, fennel, thyme and a great parmesan crust with green peppercorns.
A little over the top, but I was on a mission. Making Chicken Pie with Parmesan Crust is easy, but it takes a little time and patience to create the chicken stock. Keep the parmesan pastry cold and work it quickly. Also, be careful not to overcook the chicken – remember it still has to go in the oven for another 20-25 minutes.
I’ve added julienned carrots, fennel and spring onions but don’t feel constrained by this. Fennel is always a good combination with chicken, and so are celery, red peppers and leeks. Swap spring onions for yellow onions, but cook these with the other vegetables. For hungry guests, add potatoes.
For main course inspiration, view our main course recipe section.
Chicken Pie with Parmesan Crust
- 23 cm pie dish
Cooking the Chicken and the Stock
- 1 good sized free range chicken cut into quarters about 700-800g
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion (roughly chopped)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp peppercorn
- 1 stick celery with plenty of leaves (cut into 2/3 pieces)
- 225 g plain flour
- 150 g chilled unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 40 g grated parmesan
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp coarsely ground green peppercorns
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp iced water
The Pie Filling
- 3 medium carrotts thinely sliced into sticks
- 4 spring onions sliced diagonally conserving as much of the green end as possible
- 2 small fennel bulbs thinely sliced diagonally
- small bunch of parsely
- 2/3 branches of fresh thyme
- olive oil
- 2 cloves grated garlic
- 40 g plain flour
- 40 g butter
- 1 red onion
- egg wash for the pastry
Preparing the Chicken and Stock
- Gently seal the chicken in a large heavy-based casserole dish together with the vegetables for the stock. Add water to about two-thirds to the top of the pot, bring to the boil and gently simmer (with the lid on) for 40 minutes. Add more water if necessary. You want it just cooked. The chicken will cook further when you make the filling and then has another 25 minutes in the oven – so you don't overcook it.
- Remove all the meat from the bones and put the bones back into the stock. Add more water, about 1 litre in total. Gently boil until reduced to just over half. You want to end up with approx 600ml of stock.
- Strain the stock and discard the bones and vegetables.
Preparing the Parmesan Crust
- Ideally use a food processor, if you are making by hand, work quickly and don't handle it too much.
- Add the flour, salt and green peppercorns to the food processor and pulse a couple of times to evenly mix. Add the chilled butter and pulse until you have fine breadcrumbs. Add the grated parmesan and pulse a couple of times to mix in.
- Mix one tablespoone of the water with the egg yolk, pulse and add enough water until the pastry comes together.
- Gather into a ball, wrap in cling flim and chill.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
- In the heavy based pan, gently saute the carrots, fennel, garlic, thyme and onions but NOT the spring onions. Cook very gently until the onions are translucent. Add the chicken, spring onions, roughly chopped parsely and a glass of white wine. Add ⅔ of the stock and thicken with the pre-prepared roux (40g butter/40g flour). Make sure it boils very briefly. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to just over ½ cm thick and is slightly larger than the pie dish
- Put the filling in your pie dish and (if necessary) add more stock to the filling until barely covered, gently stirring to incorporate the stock. You may need to re-heat the stock if it is already jelly like.
- Cover the pie with the pastry folding it in on itself around the edge pressing firmly with a fork or pinching with your fingers. Cut several deep slits in the pastry to allow the steam to escape. Lightly brush with an egg wash.
- Cook on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes or when the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.