Chicken, Leek and Fennel Pie with Cream Cheese Pastry

July 5, 2011

Have craving. Need pie.

At this point, the thought of spending a boring Saturday baking didn’t sound so bonkers. But about three odd hours later, I was thinking screw this pie, I need a beer and my couch! That being said, in the end all the faffing about was worth it because it was one helluva dinner.

Now I know it ain’t pretty but it’s totally my fault. I got really lazy with the pastry and I didn’t let the chicken, leek and fennel filling cool down enough. Eep, my bad. Oh and I forgot to brush on the egg wash before baking so the pastry, while cooked beautifully, didn’t brown all pretty. For my final act, I didn’t really thicken my filling enough so things got a little oozy when I cut it into individual slices. So much drama for one humble pie!

BUT it tasted awesome. I mean that cream cheese pastry? Heaven! It was incredibly tender, flaky and buttery and worked beautifully with the comforting chicken, herb and white wine filling. And because I’m so obsessed in love with this dish, I just had to serve it with my favourite braised balsamic red cabbage (hands down, my favourite vegetable accompaniment to any meat dish). This pie definitely deserves a repeat performance especially while winter is still raging. If only for that kick-ass pie crust.

I never thought I could be so enamoured with cabbage!



Chicken, Leek and Fennel Pie with Cream Cheese Pastry


[Filling]

1kg of chicken thighs (about 3-4)
50g butter
Olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only
1 fennel bulb
250ml white wine
50g plain flour (just over 1/4 cup)
375ml chicken stock
1.5 Tbl thyme leaves, finely chopped
1.5 Tbl marjoram leaves, finely chopped

[Cream Cheese Pastry]

250g plain flour
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
200g cold unsalted butter, chopped
115g cream cheese (120ml approx.)


Method

Prepare ingredients for the filling:

• Debone chicken and trim excess fat. Dice into 1.5cm chunks.
• Wash the white part of the leek, halve lengthways and slice into thin half-crescents.
• Remove stalks and fronds from fennel and dice into 1cm cubes.

In a pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter until it’s nutty brown. Add a splash of olive oil and season the chicken with sea salt. Brown the chicken in batches until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Tip the garlic, leek and fennel into the pot, reduce the heat to low and cook vegetables for 5 minutes until softened (stirring occasionally).

Increase the heat and deglaze the pan with the white wine. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to half (about 5-10 minutes).

Shower the flour over and stir to combine. Stir in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the browned chicken, thyme and marjoram, stir through and simmer for about 6-8 minutes or until the filling has thickened. Check the seasoning and adjust to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely (best thing is to chill overnight in fridge because warm filling + pastry equals disaster).


[To make pastry]

Whizz the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor for a second. Add the cold chopped butter and process until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the cream cheese and process until the dough comes together. Tip out the dough, gently knead into a rectangle, wrap with cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 240°C (or 220° fan forced) and lightly grease one large pie tin with olive oil spray.

Divide dough into two portions (2/3 for the base and 1/3 for the lid). Roll out the larger portion into a circle about 3-4mm thick and line your pie tin, cutting off the excess. This is a pastry that will shrink a bit so leave a little pastry overhang from the edge.

Fill the pie with the cold chicken filling and spread evenly.

Roll out the smaller portion of the dough into a circle about 3-4mm thick. Brush the edges of your pie base with a little of the beaten egg and seal it with the ‘lid’. Press or crimp your pie edges to seal.

Use a knife to poke the top of the pie to make a slit. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash (don’t forget this step like I always do lol). Chill pie for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Bake at 240°C for 5 minutes then reduce heat to 220°C and bake for another 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Remove and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in tin.


Print this recipe.


Recipe adapted from Maggi Beer’s Chicken, Grape and Champagne Pie (from the cookbook Maggi’s Kitchen and online).


{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Jane August 10, 2011 at 22:56

I just thought I should let you know that I found your blog through the rasperri cupcakes blog a few days ago and I’ve just made this meal tonight. Hoo smokies. I’m eating the most amazing pie and cabbage right now. And I didn’t even use the pastry recipe – I don’t know if I could handle how good that would be! I made individual pies with store-bought pastry hats, but they have still brought it to the table. Thanks for this loveliness!

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Chelsea July 18, 2011 at 09:22

I came across this post and the pie looked so good that I made it one day later! The only thing I really changed was to add a golden beet to the filling and use creme fraiche instead of cream cheese in the pastry. It was just as good as it looked in your pictures, and I really think the crust is the most amazing part! It’s like eating a croissant. Thank you so much for sharing, this was a lovely recipe and made me a fantastic dinner!

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Citrus and Candy July 20, 2011 at 00:12

Hi Chelsea, oh wow creme fraiche in the pastry? I can only imagine how rich and awesome that would’ve tasted. I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the pie and loved the crust as much I did :D

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Obesebaby July 7, 2011 at 13:40

awesome piece of work! I never made a pie nor a pastry. looks like hard work but I love yours

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:46

I use to think like that too Wendy. But practice makes perfect :)

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Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets July 7, 2011 at 03:20

That top shot is simply gorgeous :). Love that you made a savory pie.

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:48

Thanks so much! :D

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cindy July 6, 2011 at 22:04

this pie looks delicious, as does the cabbage…i kind of love cabbage, so i will definitely have to try that recipe!

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:49

Hi Cindy, if you love cabbage then I simply demand that you make it asap. It’s divine!

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Sasha @ The Procrastobaker July 6, 2011 at 19:55

I am saving and DEFINITELY making this pie as soon as humanly possible! I cant resist annnyyy pie but this one just looks phenomenally good :)

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:49

Hi Sasha! Hope you enjoy it! From one pie lover to another :)

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Sara @ Belly Rumbles July 6, 2011 at 17:53

You had me at cream cheese pastry.

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:50

Hi Sara, it was surprisingly flaky and oh so delish. I love that it only needs 3 ingredients and no eggs!

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Emma July 5, 2011 at 21:41

Oh my, this sounds sooo good! I bet the fresh flavour of the fennel really balances out the supreme richness of the pastry? I’m growing fennel this year so looking for lots of recipes to use it in – this one is definitely on my list!

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:53

Hi Emma, the fennel is beautiful in this pie. I’m not the hugest fan of aniseed flavours but cooked in this way, the fennel lends a little sweetness. So jealous that you’re growing fennel! Wish I had more of a green thumb :)

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mademoiselle délicieuse July 5, 2011 at 21:41

Winter warming! And I don’t mind extra sauciness – more for the pastry to make friends with.

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:52

Hahahaha Rita, I love the way you think :D

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Anh July 5, 2011 at 20:56

I love everything about this pie! Yum!! I have a pie recipe coming up as well. But I want MORE PIE!

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:52

Hi Anh! Sounds to me that you love pie ;) Totally can’t wait to see yours! x

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chocolatesuze July 5, 2011 at 14:21

i like it oozy :P

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:51

Lol norty norty…

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Adriana July 5, 2011 at 13:25

This pie looks amazing. The perfect night in during winter, i love leek and fennel together, so i am very keen to try your version. :)

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:54

Hi Adriana, I love leek and fennel together too! If not pie then in a simple egg tart. I love winter food :)

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Phuoc'n Delicious July 5, 2011 at 12:51

Mmmmm pie… Perfect weather for it too! Patience definitely paid off! It looks good :) I’ve yet to try that cream pastry by Maggie Beer. Oh and that braised red cabbage = WINNER! So tasty

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:55

I friggin love winter food and nothing beats pie!

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Christine July 5, 2011 at 11:04

Mmm looks delicious.. Cream cheese pastry sounds genius!

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:56

Thanks Christine!

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Reemski July 5, 2011 at 09:59

That looks sooooooo good….I’ve only ever made sweet pies, so definitely have to try a savoury one.

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 01:02

Hi Reem, oh you must! Savoury pies are (I admit) so much better in winter!

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Minh July 5, 2011 at 09:54

Chicken and leek combination I love already, but you took it to the next level with the fennel! Looks delish

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 01:02

Thanks Minh! It’s my fave combo too :)

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Tina July 5, 2011 at 08:14

this looks absolutely devine. what great winter comfort food! nom nom

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 01:03

Thanks Tina!

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muppy July 5, 2011 at 07:05

i make a delicious ham, chicken and leek pie, i’m going to try it with this pastry, sounds yummy.

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 01:03

Hi Muppy, ooh yum, I love savoury pies in all shapes and forms :D

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