Chicken, Jerusalem artichoke and leek filo pie recipe image

Print Chicken, Jerusalem artichoke and leek filo pie

With its crisp ruffled top and rich, flavoursome filling, this is a dish of impressive contrasts; it’s good with a simply dressed green salad or with plenty of wilted greens. The filling can be made in advance and frozen. Defrost, top with the pastry and bake as per the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 500g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed clean, unpeeled
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp sunflower, vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts (about 300g), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 75g butter
  • 2 leeks, washed & sliced
  • 4 sage leaves, finely shredded
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 400ml milk
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • Leaves from 4 thyme sprigs
  • 250g pack ready-made filo pastry
  • 50g butter, melted
  • Salt & black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Cut the Jerusalem artichokes into thin wedges, putting them in a bowl of cold water with a good squeeze of lemon juice to stop them discolouring. Cook in boiling salted water for 8 minutes, until just tender, then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Add the chicken and fry for a few minutes on each side – just long enough to brown the pieces; they’ll finish cooking in the oven. Remove to a plate.
  3. Add the butter, leeks and sage to the same pan. Cook gently for a few minutes to soften the leeks. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a couple more minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring continually, until the sauce has started to thicken. Let it bubble for a few minutes to cook out the raw flour flavour.
  4. Stir in the Jerusalem artichokes, chicken, mustard and thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a pie dish, allowing the mixture to cool.
  5. Lightly brush a sheet of filo pastry with some of the melted butter and place it flat on top of the pie mixture. Trim away any excess, bearing in mind it will shrink very slightly in the oven. Unless you’re a very quick pastry worker, lay a lightly dampened clean tea towel over the stack of waiting filo sheets to stop them drying out.
  6. Working with a sheet of filo at a time, brush it with butter, cut it into 5–6cm strips and layer them over the pie to make a ruffled pattern. Keep going until you have created at least a couple of layers of ruffled pastry, tucking it in around the edges and making sure the pie filling is completely covered.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Cooks notes

Variations
* You don’t have to make ruffles, simply lay six or so sheets of flat buttered filo on top of the pie.
* Use a chilled sheet of shop-bought or home-made puff pastry in place of the filo. Moisten the rim of the pie dish with water and press the pastry on to it to seal. For a golden crust, brush the pastry with beaten egg. Cut a little steam vent in the middle before baking.
* For a vegetarian option, use halved or quartered mushrooms instead of chicken. Or you can use cooked chestnuts (there will be no need to fry them), or chunks of cooked squash or sweet potato.
* You could also add various cooked greens to the pie filling: blanched and chopped spinach, kale, chard or broccoli.

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