Friday, March 20, 2015

Potato, Leek and Chicken Pie

by Sheila Connolly

Well, it’s still the week of the day of Saint Patrick, so I’ll indulge in another selection from The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook. What makes this Irish? Well, there are potatoes in it, and some mushrooms. And a leek or two (wait, those are Welsh!). And it’s a handsome and tasty dish!

Potato, Leek and Chicken Pie


2 waxy potatoes, cubed
7 Tblsp salted butter
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast 
   (about 6 oz), cubed
1 leek, sliced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2-1/2 Tblsp flour
1-1/4 cups milk
1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
2 Tblsp fresh sage, chopped (use dry if you have no fresh)
8 oz phyllo pastry (thaw if frozen)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water (I used the microwave) for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt half the butter in a skillet and cook the chicken for 5 minutes, or until browned.

Add the leek and mushrooms to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, stirring. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minutes, stirring continuously. Gradually stir in the milk and bring to a boil. Add the mustard, sage and potatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the mixture is simmering, melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan (or microwave). Line a deep pie dish with half of the sheets of phyllo pastry. Spoon the chicken mixture over the phyllo layer and cover with a single sheet of pastry. Brush a little of the melted butter on, then lay a second sheet on top and brush it with butter as well.

Okay, this is where I started giggling at the instructions: Cut the remaining phyllo pastry into strips and fold them onto the top of the pie to create a ruffled effect. Really? How do you ruffle phyllo? (Fast, at least—it dries out quickly.) I soldiered along and came up with a result that looked pretty much like the picture in the book. Hard to go wrong, since it will taste good no matter what, especially after you drizzle whatever is left of your butter over the top. Be generous with it (support the Irish dairy industry!)

Cook in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. It doesn’t cut neatly, so you’ll have to serve it with a spoon. But it’s nice and crunchy on top, and the phyllo contrasts well with the creamy filling. I think the Irish are on to something!

In honor of Saint Patrick (who didn't visit County Cork, as far as I know), here's the trio of County Cork Mysteries (each of which was a New York Times bestseller--go Ireland!)


  1. Oh, that sounds and looks wonderful!
    You essentially par-boil the potatoes, right?
    How do the sheets of phyllo on the bottom do? Do they stand up to the moisture on top of them?
    The plate you chose it a lovely one for presentation.

    1. My apologies for being so late to reply--I was being held hostage in a conference, and the wifi left something to be desired.

      Yes, pre-cooking the potatoes (not too long--you don't want them mushy) is good, but five minutes in water or broth in the microwave will do it.

      I didn't know what to expect about the bottom phyllo sheets, but even using half of the roll (two per box) didn't create a very thick layer. They didn't brown, but kind of blended in with the rest of the ingredients. Not a gummy mess, anyway.

      A new skill: ruffling phyllo!

  2. that sounds incredible Sheila. Ditto on Libby's questions. And when should we all be over for supper?

    1. The recipes in this book make plenty, so come on down (or up). This made enough for two meals for adults with reasonable appetites, plus a leftover lunch serving. And it reheated well.

  3. This is making me so hungry. And I have all the ingredients at home . . . I, too, am curious about the phyllo. I bet it's just as good without it, though I love the idea of a pie with layers of phyllo!

  4. I love pot pies! My husband not so much so I get to eat all the leftovers. Yum!

    1. I liked the phyllo--it seemed a bit lighter than a pie crust (besides, I can't make pie crust for love or money), and the bit of crunch was nice. As I said, it reheated just fine, so good leftovers.