Woodfired Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie
Woodfired Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie??! When we cook pastry in the woodfired oven, it is always a surprise to our woodfired cookery students. But if we can do flatbreads and pizzas, why not pastry? It stays crispy and short, no soggy bottoms here. It also stretches us to be better woodfired cooks because we are making sure the pastry is cooked through without being burnt or scorched.
We used to cook at our local yacht club and on racing nights, the favourite crew supper was pie. It didn’t matter what kind of pie – chicken, beef, pork, lamb. As long as the supper was pie with lots of chips the sailors were a happy crew. Especially if the south west winds were blowing and there was a nip in the air. Because there is no champagne sailing on Wednesday night racing!
So this week’s Woodfired Weekly is our favourite pie – Woodfired Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie. We’ve used chicken thigh meat as it’s got great flavour. We’ve also added a little grain mustard and parsley and used filo pastry for added crunch. Delicious! Let us know how you get on; we love to hear about your cooking.
If you make the woodfired chicken, ham & leek pie in a conventional woodfired oven like our lovely Bushman ovens make sure the oven is well saturated with heat and then you don’t need a fire or any embers which will give off fumes. Maybe make some bread or cook some fish first and then use the saturated, falling oven to bake the pie. We put the pie in the oven when it was about 4-5 Mississippi or around 200C and then shut the door.
If you are using something like our fab Morso Forno or Alfa 4 Pizze ovens to make our woodfired chicken, ham and leek pie, they have less heat retention. In this case, do make sure the floor is well heated and using kindling, have a small fire burning behind a deflector so the pastry doesn’t scorch or burn before it is cooked through.
Ingredients for Woodfired Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie
2 medium leeks, finely sliced, washed and dried
30g plain flour
1tbsp grain mustard
6 chicken thighs, skinned, boned and chopped into chunks
100g chopped ham, smoked or unsmoked, your choice
2tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 pack of 12 filo sheets
1tbsp sesame seeds
Salt and pepper
Making your Woodfired Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie
1. Put the leeks and butter in a pan at the door of the oven. Let the butter melt and gently cook the leeks until they are soft.
2. Stir in the flour and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for a minute before stirring in the milk and grain mustard away from the heat so you get a smooth sauce. Put the pan back in the oven and bring all of this to the boil in the oven stirring all the time to thicken up. In addition you’ll cook out any floury flavour by letting it simmer for a while. Make sure you wear your gauntlets to do this. Let the sauce simmer gently at the front of the oven for a few minutes.
3. Toss the chopped chicken thigh meat in 2tbsp olive oil and cook it in a pan so you get some colour on them. They don’t have to be completely cooked through. Add the chicken to the sauce with the ham and chopped parsley.
4. Unwrap the filo pastry and layer 7-8 of the pieces in the base of an ovenproof pan (we used the middle size one of the set we got from our friends at Big Fire). Brush the filo with olive oil before you layer it up.
5. Add the chicken mixture to the pastry base then cut the rest of the filo leaves to fit the top. Brush them with oil again and layer them on top of the chicken mixture. Bring any pastry that’s overhanging the sides over the top and put the final layer of filo on top. Brush it with olive oil and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.
Cooking your Woodfired Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie
6. Put the pie in the oven then shut the door and leave it to bake for about 25 minutes. Then check that the pie is still OK. If it needs a little more cooking to brown the pastry, leave it in the oven for another 10 minutes. Our pie took 35 minutes altogether.
7. Take the pie out of the oven and let it stand for 5 minutes. Cut the pie into 6-8 wedges and serve it with a green vegetable – something like peas or broccoli. Or carrots; I know they’re orange!
Alternatives for woodfired chicken, ham & leek pie
If you don’t fancy our filling or because you don’t have the ingredients to hand, here are some suggestions for other fillings –
- braised lamb with apricots and shallots
- beef in red wine gravy with carrots and parsnips
- mushrooms and spinach in ricotta with chives and Parmesan cheese
- slow-cooked red onions, pork fillet and bacon lardons
- spiced chickpea with harissa, leeks and carrots
These are such a good way of using up a pre-cooked casserole because you can make them in advance. Additionally you can make individual pies or pasties and serve them hot or cold. They are great for lunch, supper or a picnic – possibly the perfect food! Let your imagination run riot and see what you can come up with!