4 portions.  Maximum cost: £16.20, 

Skill level:  Medium (uses shop bought pastry), 

Total cooking time: 1 hr 45 mins, 

  • Prep time: 30 mins, 
  • Cooking time: 1 hr 15 mins, 

Equipment used: 1 large deep pan with lid, a colander, a measuring jug,  a rolling pin and a pastry brush. 

Original recipe: John Torode’s Chicken pot pie


The definition of a pot pie is: “a savoury pie, typically with a top crust only” … This still counts as a pie… it’s not cheating because it’s a pot pie. Pot = not cheating. 

Traditionally served with mash, minted peas or another British root veg; John Torode breaks with tradition by serving his chicken pie with a spicy coleslaw. I’ve amended both pie and coleslaw recipes slightly; substituting new potatoes with mushrooms and typically using whatever veg I have leftover for the coleslaw. 

The quantity of ingredients I’ve specified allows you to make 2 pies (using 26cm pie dishes). You could of course make 1 larger pie, but you do run the risk of having a soggy top unless you add a pie bird to keep the lid from collapsing.

John Torode is one of the many TV chefs to advocate the use of shop bought puff pastry although you could make your own if you felt the need. If short on time, this allows you to focus your time on the filling and this is where you can make this pie shine! The sauce is the real star of the show – Made by combining a simple roux with the poaching liquor used to cook chicken, ham and veg, plus a generous helping of cream, grated nutmeg and parsley – I’ll encourage you to “sample” the pie filling a few times before popping the lid on – chef’s perks.

I ended up adding a lot more of the poaching liquid than stated in John’s original recipe as I wanted a more creamy filling, but feel free to reduce if you desire.


To prep:

(Original recipe in bold font)

  1. Chop 3 stalks of celery and 1 leek into 1cm pieces. Chop 1 punnet of mushrooms in quarters or sixths depending on their size and thinly slice the 3 garlic cloves. 
  2. Cut 150g cooked ham into bite size chunks
  3. Finally, cut 6 chicken thighs into 4 or 5 pieces.
  4. Clean the board and chop 2 tbsp worth of parsley – you’ll use this towards the end. 
  5. Prepare the pastry – (If using frozen pastry, this will need to be fully defrosted). Unroll the pastry onto a floured work surface. Take the pie dish you are using, place onto the pastry and cut around this leaving an additional 2cm of pastry.
  6. Don’t through away the remnants – use these to make decorations, or if you have enough, dollop some jam in the middle and bake separately for an impromptu pud’. 
  7. Leave the pastry lid(s) to rest for half an hour or so whilst you make the filling. (If you skip this step and add the pastry top to the pie immediately after rolling, you run the risk of having your lid shrink away from the edges. 


To cook:

Pie filling:

Chicken, ham and leek pie fillingPut the chicken, stock, cream or milk, celery, leeks, potatoes (if using, add mushrooms also at this point), garlic and ham into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring every couple of minutes to get all of the ingredients coated, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

You now need to drain off the cooking liquor – Place a measuring jug into the sink, put a colander on top and (ideally with some help) slowly pour the liquid through the colander into the measuring jug, eventually tipping in the entire contents of the pan. You will need 250ml/9fl oz of liquid. (I actually had 350ml of liquid and used all in my pie). Make up the quantity using extra cream or milk, if required. Allow to cool slightly while you make the roux.


The sauce:

Clean and dry the pan, add the butter and melt gently over a moderate heat. Stir in the flour until thoroughly combined, and cook for a few minutes but do not let the mixture colour.

Stir in the poaching liquid, about a third at a time, heating and stirring well between additions, until the mixture is thick, smooth and velvety. Stir in the nutmeg and parsley, then add salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in the cooked chicken and vegetables and toss gently in the sauce until well coated. Add the filling to the pie dish and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Ideally you’d leave to cool completely and chill in the fridge.


Assemble the pie:

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Remove the pie filling from the fridge and allow to return to room temperature.

Set the pastry lid on top. If there is any excess, trim it off evenly and use a fork to leave a neat, serrated edge around the pie.

Add an egg (yolk and white) to a cup, scramble with a fork and using a pastry brush, apply to the egg wash to the edge of the pie dish to help the lid stick when you drop it on top.

Set the pastry lid on top. If there is any excess, trim it off evenly and use a fork to leave a neat, serrated edge around the pie. Brush the egg glaze over the pastry and add the decorative bits if using, making sure to egg these as well. Don’t forget to add a hole at the very centre to allow the steam to escape.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry has puffed and is golden brown.

Serve with homemade coleslaw



All prices from Sainsbury’s, March 2017, unless otherwise stated

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (£6 from my local butchers)
  • 250ml chicken stock (although I often use homemade veg stock)
  • 4tbsp (approx 75ml) single cream (55p for 150ml)
  • 3 stalks of celery (£1 for a pack)
  • 1 leek (you can reduce this to 3/4 if also making the sausage & lentil cassoulet in the same week) (65p)
  • 3 garlic cloves (50p for a bulb)
  • 1 punnet of chestnut mushrooms (£1 for 250g)
  • 150g cooked ham (£5 for 400g @ M&S, so less than £2 here)
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley (70p)
  • 1 sheet of ready to roll puff pastry (£1.55 for a packet)
  • 1 egg (25p)
  • freshly grated nutmeg


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