Chicken and leek pasties
Inspired by the great original, the Cornish pasty, these are all filling, portable meals, neatly wrapped in their own edible packaging. If you don’t have time to make the rough puff pastry, you could make shortcrust, or use a good, ready-made, all-butter puff or flaky pastry. Eat the pasties hot from the oven, cold at your desk or in the park, or even – dare we say? – reheated (thoroughly) in the office microwave.
To make the pastry, mix the flour with the salt, then add the cubed butter and toss until the pieces are coated with flour. Add just enough iced water (8–10 tablespoons) to bring the mixture together into a fairly firm dough.
Shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands and, on a well-floured surface, roll it out in one direction, away from you, so you end up with a rectangle about 1cm thick. Fold the far third towards you, then fold the nearest third over that (rather like folding a business letter), so that you now have a rectangle made up of 3 equal layers. Give the pastry a quarter-turn, then repeat the rolling, folding and turning process 5 more times. Wrap the pastry in cling film and rest it in the fridge for about 30 minutes, or up to an hour.
To make the filling, melt the butter in a frying pan, add the leeks and thyme, and sweat gently for 5–10 minutes, until the leeks are very tender. Stir in the cream and cook gently for 4–5 minutes to reduce and thicken. Stir in the mustard, season well and leave to cool.
If using fresh chicken, season well and fry in the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat until evenly browned.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 3mm thick. Using a plate or a cake tin as a template, cut out four 20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get your fourth circle.
Spoon the leek mixture on to one half of each circle and pile the chicken on top. Brush the pastry edges with a little water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.
Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops of the pasties with beaten egg. Bake in an oven preheated to 190°C/Gas Mark 5 for about 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Eat hot or cold.
For the rough puff pastry:
- 300g plain flour
- A pinch of sea salt
- 150g chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
For the filling:
- 25g butter
- 2–3 medium leeks (about 500g), trimmed and finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon roughly chopped thyme leaves
- 150ml double cream
- 1 teaspoon English mustard
- About 400g boned chicken thigh and breast meat (or leftover cooked chicken), cut into thick slices
- 1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil (if using fresh chicken)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon milk, for glazing
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