Britain has a long history of pies, and I have a long history with Britain…and her pies, especially meat pies. I love them! I spent a few of my formative years in Ipswich, and I would love it when the family stopped off at the chippie. On every visit, I would get a steak and kidney pie, which is pretty unusual for a little girl, but that was my go-to choice.
Maybe it was because I had no idea what a kidney was, and my younger self had no idea that I wasn’t supposed to like them. I remember the first time I ordered one with Jim, not even thinking about it and he just gave me this look like, “What kind of beast have I married?” As with many things, though, he came around and I believe he’s a fan as well, although I don’t think it’s his go-to by a long shot.
The good thing is that there are so many varieties of savory pies out there now, and you can go to any gas station to heat one up and take it in the car with you. I like to mix it up with a chicken curry one day and then one day I’ll go rogue with whatever is the flavor of the day. I’ve rarely been disappointed. That is unless there are peas in it. That is one British dish I have a hard time with, peas. I just don’t get the fascination. I’ll take a good root vegetable any day.
Pies are not just a British thing, and they have a long revered history dating back to those imaginative Egyptians. Other cultures also started encasing meats, primarily in order to have the precious food last longer, but as the centuries sped by, there are pies in just about every culture. One of our non-British favorites is the Turkish borek, which we have written about time and again. So, the short answer is, the Romans did not just come to Britain to build a wall, Hadrian’s, but also brought along these tasty and somewhat portable treats. Needless to say, chefs, butchers, bakers, and many a housewife have put their spin on this ubiquitous pastry-filled dish, all of which have proven to be pure comfort food.
Our family has followed suit, and we’ve tried our own take on some of the British classics. Erika recently discovered her love for leeks, so our new favorite came from her. This particular recipe has been very loosely modeled on one of Jamie Oliver’s, so you know it’s tasty!
Erika’s Chicken and Leek Pie Recipe
1 lb Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 heaping tablespoon of flour 1-2 tbs oil
1 cup chopped leeks (1-2 leeks depending on how big they are)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1-1/2 tablespoons creme fresh or sour cream
Thyme, Rosemary, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
1 package of frozen puff pastry (unless you feel super energized and make your own)
Season and cook the chicken in the oil for about 5 minutes on medium high. Add the leeks and mushrooms at a very low heat; cook about 3 minutes. Add the flour, stirring consistently to coat everything. Make sure chicken is cooked through, then add all the liquids. Stir constantly until thickens. Add spices to taste. Poor into dish, cover with prepared puff pastry. Egg wash the top, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 degrees Centigrade for about 20 minutes or until pastry top is golden brown and puffed up.
What is your favorite type of pie?
Pin British Pies for later!