Chicken, Leek and Sage Pie with a Spelt Pastry Crust


Nothing is more enticing to me than a nourishing savoury pie. A good pie should be a delicious food surprise, containing mouthfuls of flavour, texture, warmth and comfort.
I serve mine with home-made sweet potato wedges and/or a green salad.

makes 6
what you need
2 ½ cups (300g) white spelt flour
125g cold butter, cut in cubes
pinch sea salt
100ml chilled water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 leeks, halved, cleaned and finely sliced
1kg chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and roughly diced
½ cup (125ml) white wine
½ cup (75g) unbleached plain flour
2 cups (500ml) chicken stock, warmed
1 bunch of sage, leaves finely chopped (keep 12 leaves for decorating pie tops)
sea salt and ground white pepper, to taste
1 egg, for glazing

what you do
1. To make the pastry, combine the flour, butter and salt in a food processor and process in short bursts until crumbly (alternatively combine in a bowl and use your finger tips to rub together). Add almost all the water and process in a few short bursts until evenly moistened. Add remaining water only if required.
2. Gather the dough together into a ball, wrap in non-stick baking paper and refrigerate while you make the filling.
3. To make the filling, warm the olive oil in a large pot. Gently saute the onion and leeks on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the chicken pieces, and cook for 5-7 minutes until sealed all over. Add the white wine and cook a further 2 minutes. Reduce to a medium heat, add the flour and cook for a further minute, stirring continuously.
4. Add the warm stock a little at a time, stirring until smooth after each addition, until all the stock has been added and a smooth thick sauce has formed. Stir in the sage, season with salt and pepper and cook a further 10 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced) and grease the top rim of 6 x 1 cup (250ml) capacity pie dishes.
6. Fill each dish with an even amount of chicken filling (approx. 1 cup (250ml) filling per pie). Allow to cool. Meanwhile, divide the dough into six even pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough out on the non-stick baking paper it was wrapped in, to about 3mm thick and to the size of your pie dish.
7. Top each pie with a pastry lid. Brush the pastry tops with lightly beaten egg then place fresh sage leaves on the centre. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden.
Note: For hand-cut sweet potato wedges recipe see page 105.

GF option: For pastry use a ready-made gluten-free pastry and in the pie substitute flour for brown rice flour.

©Jane Grover  
Recipe from Our Delicious Adventure – Recipes and Stories of Food and Travel