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Playing Chicken Pan Pie


  • 4 6-ounce pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 1 small onion, quartered with root attached
  • 1 large fresh bay leaf
  • 1 carrot, peeled and quartered
  • 2 small ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • A few sprigs of parsley
  • Sea salt
  • 1 prepared piecrust dough
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Egg wash
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 medium leeks, halved, sliced 1/2-inch thick
  • 2 to 3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pepper
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock/poaching liquid
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • A few grates of nutmeg
  • 1 round tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 cup shelled fresh peas or 1 cup defrosted
  • 1 small onion, quartered with root attached


Serves: 4, with seconds


Preheat oven to 400F.

Place chicken in a skillet; add onion, bay leaf, carrot, celery and parsley. Season with salt, add water to cover chicken and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently 15-20 minutes, depending on size of chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, place dough on a floured surface. Sprinkle with poppy seeds, lemon zest and salt. Flour a rolling pin and gently roll toppings into dough. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 8 wedges; arrange on a nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Bake to golden, 15-20 minutes.

Place the chicken on a plate to cool and strain the poaching liquid. Return the skillet to stove and heat EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium heat. Add leeks and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook to soften, 5-6 minutes, add flour and stir 1 minute. Add wine and reduce to evaporate; add stock, cream and nutmeg, and bring to bubble. Add Dijon and let thicken. Chop or shred the chicken; add the peas, tarragon, chicken and lemon juice to the sauce and stir to warm through. Remove from heat and arrange the pie wedges on top. Serve from skillet into shallow bowls, removing filling and 1 wedge of crust per portion.