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Monday, 11 April 2016

Vegetarian Chicken & Leek Pie

Made with a meat substitute,  these creamy individual chicken and leek pies are housed in a hot water crust pastry shell making them a lot quicker and easier to prepare. 
  
Vegetarian Chicken and Leek Pie

Savoury pies are perfect comfort food, being ideal for those early spring days when the weather is still a little chilly.   Mr E and I really enjoy generous deep filled pies served with new potatoes and a mixture of vegetables.

For a while now I've been meaning to make a vegetarian version of chicken and leek pie.  As I used a quorn substitute no chicken came near these individual pies.  I find Quorn really versatile for this type of bake, allowing me to rustle up things like Vegetarian Pork Pies and a GBBO inspired Game Pie.  The quorn pieces were partially cooked in a frying pan until slightly golden before being sliced into bite sized chunks and mixed with the cooked leeks and white sauce.  The white sauce was incredibly tasty, besides being seasoned with salt and pepper I added a generous amount of garlic puree which really added an extra dimension to the pie's flavour.  These little individual pies would freeze really well too, allowing you to potentially make a extra and freeze the surplus in an air tight container ready for another meal time. 


Chicken and Leek Pie made with Quorn pieces

Usually chicken and leek pie is made from a puff pastry, but being a little short of time and inclination for all of that rolling, folding and chilling Mr E and I decided to make a hot water crust pastry to house our creamy chicken and leek filling.  The nature of hot water crust pastry means that no blind baking is required, and a soggy bottom is never an issue!  The pastry is straightforward to make and is easily shaped to the sides of a tin.  It is also ideal for the those who steer clear of pastry making because of naturally warm hands.   It really is a winning pastry.  The only drawback, though, with this type of pastry is that it needs to be worked with promptly to ensure that the pies are shaped before the pastry firms up and becomes less pliable.  

Hot water crust pastry is usually made with a mixture of butter and lard (or even 100% lard), however living in a vegetarian home this product is clearly off the shopping list and menu.  In previous hot water crust bakes I've substituted the lard with Trex which worked well, but as that product contains palm oil we decided to use an alternative this time.  The obvious choice was butter.  The butter worked well, allowing the pastry to come together before being shaped in the same manner.  Mr E felt that this version was tastier too, which is certainly no bad thing.   

Vegetarian Chicken and Leek Pie Recipe, housed in a hot water crust pastry

Now I must say, when I removed the vegetarian chicken and leek pies from the oven my heart sank a little as the pie crusts had cracked a tad.  Not being aesthetically perfect I considered not photographing them, but Mr E reminded me that these are real pies and this is the type of thing which can, and does, happen to the home baker.  This bake may not be aesthetically perfect, but it is really tasty being packed full of faux chicken and sauteed leeks all smothered in a subtly garlicy white sauce.



So let's get to it and bake! 


Vegetarian Chicken & leek Pie.     Yum

How to make a Vegetarian Chicken and Leek Pie

Yield: 3 individual pies
Serves: 3
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Freezable: Yes  
Time: about 45 minutes hands on; about 40 minutes bake time.



You will need:

2 x Small Pans
Wooden Spoon
1 x Frying Pan
2 x Mixing Bowls
Rolling Pin
3 x Dariole Moulds (ours hold 6 floz / 160ml)
Pastry Brush
Baking Tray (large enough to hold the dariole moulds)
Cup / Glass / spare Dariole Mould with the same diameter as those used for the pies
Paring Knife, or similar
Pastry Brush

For the Hot Water Crust Pastry

112g Plain Flour,
22g Strong White Flour, plus extra for rolling
30g + 30g Chilled Butter
Pinch Salt
65ml Boiling Water
pinch Salt
1 beaten Egg or Milk to glaze

For the White Sauce Filling and Filling

35g Butter
35g Plain Flour
250ml Milk
Seasoning
Garlic Puree
Vegetable Oil
120g prepared Leeks, washed, trimmed, halved & sliced (approx 1 large leek)
3 Quorn Chicken Fillets (I ussed these frozen quorn fillets)


How to make them:

1.  Make the White Sauce.   Place 35g of butter in small pan and set over a medium heat to melt.   Tip in the flour.  Use the wooden spoon to stir the flour into the melted butter to make a thick smooth paste.  Slowly add the milk to the paste, stirring all of the time allowing the milk to fully combine with the paste before adding more.  Once all of the milk  has been incorporated allow the sauce to cook for a few minutes on a low heat, stirring all of the time.  Add a good pinch of salt and pepper to taste and stir again.  Add a teaspoon of garlic puree and stir again.  Taste adding a little more garlic and seasoning if desired. Take off the hob heat and set aside to cool.

2.  Cook the leeks.  Place a tablespoon of oil into a frying pan and set over a medium heat.  Add the prepared leeks and cook gently until they have softened, though are not coloured.  This may take around 5 - 8 minutes.    Move the leeks around the pan periodically.  Once cooked tip the leeks into a bowl to cool.

3.  Cook the 'chicken' pieces.  Wipe clean the frying pan.  Add a tablespoon of oil to the frying pan and set over a moderate heat.  Add the three quorn chicken fillets and allow to partially cook until lightly golden for around 6-8 minutes, turning them over half way through.  The 'chicken' pieces will finish cooking in the oven once the pie is assembled.   Remove the fillets from the frying pan and place onto a plate.  Use a knife to cut them into bite sized chunks.  Set aside to cool.  

4.  Combine the filling.   Stir the cooled white sauce until smooth again.  Place the cooked leeks and prepared vegetarian 'chicken' pieces into a good sized bowl.  Pour over the white sauce and mix until well distributed.

5.  Make the pastry.  Place the two flours, salt, 30g chilled butter into a medium bowl.  Use a knife to cube the butter into small pieces.  Gently rub the butter between your thumbs and finger tips until the flour and butter resembles fine breadcrumbs.   Place 30g butter into the small pan and add the boiling water.  Set over a low heat to allow the butter to melt . Make a well in the centre of the breadcrumbs and add most of the fatty hot water.  Stir with a knife to bring together, adding more of the liquid as necessary to make a dough which is soft and pliable but not sticky.

6.  Line the dariole moulds.  Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces (3 for the pie's sides and the fourth for their lids).   Cover them with cling film.  Partially roll one of the pastry pieces into a circle.  Lift it and place into the dariole mould.  Use your thumbs to shape the pastry into the dariole mould, bringing the pastry just beyond the rim.  Try not to make the pastry too thin.  Should a hole develop simply patch it with some excess pastry.   Repeat with the other 2 dariole moulds.

7.  Fill the pies.  Use a teaspoon to fill the pastry cases with the chicken and leek mixture.  Be generous, bringing it almost to the top of the pie case.

8.  Cover with the pastry lids.  Roll out the remaining piece of pastry.  Use the cup / glass as a stencil to cut around to make 3 pastry discs.  Carefully lift a pastry disc and place on top of a pie.  Use a paring knife, or similar, to trim off any excess pastry.  Use your two index fingers and thumb to crimp the edge of the pastry to seal.  Use a paring knife to cut an air hole in the pastry lid. Repeat with the remaining two pies.  Place into the fridge until you're ready to cook them.

9.  Preheat the oven to 210c / 190 Fan / Gas 7

10.  Bake.  Paint a little beaten egg or milk to the crust, the egg will give it a more golden colour once baked.  Place the pies onto a baking tray and sit them in the centre of the oven.  Bake for about 40 minutes.  You may need to rotate them after 30 minutes of cooking.   Once golden and cooked through remove them from the oven, gently tip the pies from the dariole moulds.  Serve as desired.    


Enjoy!


Notes:

a)  Allow the filling to completely cool before making the pastry.
b)  Work swiftly (but safely) when making and working with the pastry.
c)  Allow the butter to melt slowly in the hot water, boiling it will reduce the volume of liquid and potentially result in there being insufficient liquid to make the pastry.
d)  Avoid getting egg wash onto the side of the dariole mould as this will act as a glue resulting in the pie sticking to the mould.













This post has been shared with: 

Meat Free Mondays  hosted by Jacqueline over at Tinned Tomatoes

Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Corina over at Searching for Spice
CookBlogShare Monkey and Mouse Link up your recipe of the week The Mummy Toolbox Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com


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36 comments:

  1. This looks sooo good!! Will definitely be trying out this recipe! :) #cookblogshare

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    Replies
    1. Thank you :-) They really were really delicious, I'd love to know how you get on with it,
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  2. I find the Quorn chicken style pieces so versatile and easy to use. Love the look of this pie.

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    1. They're great aren't they, they lend themselves to so many great 'meat' styled vegetarian dishes.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  3. Chicken and leek pie is one of my favourites. These vegetarian alternatives look just as good! Thank you for sharing with #CookBlogShare x

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    1. Aw thank you Kirsty, they're so comforting aren't they - especially when the weather is a little chilly.
      Thanks for popping by, and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  4. Quorn's fab - such a useful and versatile ingredient. I usually keep a pack of the pieces and a pack of the mince in my freezer for whipping up quick, cheap and healthy midweek meals. I especially love that you can use it from frozen. I make a puff pastry version of this - it's on the blog too - it's actually one of my most popular recipes! I love your little twist, using hot water pastry - I'm not sure I've ever made hot crust pastry - I will have to give it a go one day...and I am definitely with Mr E - all butter pastry tastes the best! :-) Eb x

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    1. I love quorn - it's so good, like you say it's brilliant being able to cook it from frozen making meal time far more hassle free. You have to try making hot water crust pastry - it's so easy to do and the taste is certainly worth that bit of effort. He was certainly right, the extra butter in the pastry certainly brought extra flavour to the pie.
      I'll pop over and check out your puff pastry version - sounds yummy :-)
      Thanks for popping by and commenting Eb,
      Angela x

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  5. I've never dared to make hot water crust pastry but your instructions make it sound a lot more manageable that I think I've been giving it credit for!

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    1. Honestly Kay, it's a really straight forward pastry. I must admit that I was a little hesitant making it for the first time last year but it's lovely to work with as long as you work swiftly. In the past I have tried raising up around the outside of a 'dolly' in the traditional manner for a pork pie - that is a lot more difficult but by simply lining a deep mould you should have no trouble.
      Do let me know how you get on if you try the pastry Kay,
      Thanks for popping by and commenting.
      Angela x

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  6. These look really good. Am always on the lookout for new veggie recipes to try :) #yumtum

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    1. Aw thank you Emma, we really enjoyed them and I know we'll certainly make them again. Do let me know how you get on with it if you give it a try,
      Thanks for popping over and commenting,
      Angela x

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  7. I love chicken and leek pies although I've never cooked with quorn before. The pastry for the pies looks perfect - I've never made a hot water crust before and I think the reason why is that I don't use lard and I'd have to specially buy it for the pie so it's good to know that it can be made with butter and is still good. Thank you for joining in with #CookOnceEatTwice

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    Replies
    1. It's such a classic combo isn't it, perfect for these (still) chilly evenings. The pastry was really tasty with the all butter and worked really well.
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  8. As a lifelong veggie and a keen cook these look soooo good and great to make. They've just jumped up my to do list... thanks!!
    #tastytuesday

    http://www.mummyinatutu.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. Excellent :-) I'm so glad you like the sound of them, do let me know how you get on with them.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting,
      Angela x

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  9. These look so tasty. I dont often make pies but I now think I need to! Thanks for linking to #CookBlogShare

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha :-) We don't make them overly often but they are welcome when the evenings are still chilly.
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

      Delete
  10. This looks really tasty. I haven't had much luck with getting my kids to eat pie but they've started to like Quorn chicken in stir fry lately so this would be a good one to try. And who cares about cracked pastry! These look great. #CookBlogShare

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    1. Thank you Mandy, if your young-ones like quorn in stir fries I'm sure this would be great to try too as the filling is really tastey :-)
      Thanks for popping by Mandy,
      Angela x

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  11. The pies look fab, and the cracks add to their charm in my opinion. I love the idea of using a hot water crust. Really yummy looking pies :)

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  12. I love the look of these. We sometimes cook the pre-made quorn 'chicken' and leek pies, but these look super tasty. I find it's a nice treat at a weekend to have a pie and some veg, much like your dish. I'll definitely be following your recipe if I choose to make my own.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #HowtoSunday

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    1. I must be honest Sally, OH and I occasionally have the pre-made quorn chicken and leek pies when we have one of those days and can't be bothered with anything homemade (yes it does happen even for those of us who love to bake). Those pre-made pies actually inspired this dish because we often find that shop bought pies are often a little shy as far as the filling is concerned. There's often plenty of white sauce / gravy but very little 'meat' / quorn / vegetables.
      Do let me know how you get on with it if you give a try one day Sally,
      Thanks for popping by,
      Angela x

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  13. I've not tried hot water crust pastry as I know how quickly you have to work with it and I'm a shocker for getting sidetracked. I impulse bought myself a pork pie dolly on Christmas day in the Lakeland sale so I really need to get on and use it! Yours look lovely and I couldn't notice the cracking.

    I've only just realised you're vegetarian - I clearly need to pay more attention :-)

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    Replies
    1. Now that you have a dolly Charlotte you have to make a batch of hot water crust pastry. I know what you mean though about getting side tracked, I often find that happens to me too. I'll see something that needs doing and end up tackling that rather than carrying on with the original task in hand!
      It's a lovely pastry to work with Charlotte, so soft and (obviously) warm.
      Hahaha, yup we live in a vegetarian household ;-) This said, strictly speaking I'm not actually a vegetarian any longer. I became a vegetarian at around 18 and after about 14 or 15 years I realised I needed a little more protein in my diet and so I now occasionally eat fish or chicken. Mr E is still a fully signed up member so rather than preparing two different meals I always make vegetarian friendly food for the both of us (I'll tend to have a little fish or chicken when we eat out or if I'm eating alone).
      Thanks for your lovely comments Charlotte,
      Angela x

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  14. This looks delicious! I have never tried a chicken substitute before so looks like an interesting alternative for us, even though we aren't vegetarian it is great to try new things. Thanks for linking up to #YumTum this week :)

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    1. Ooh you must try it at some point Charlotte. It's so easy to use, comparatively cheap, can be cooked from frozen and is a great protein as well! It would make a lovely change to using meat occasionally.
      Thanks for popping by and commenting, and of course for hosting.
      Angela x

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  15. This looks great, the hot water pastry sounds easy enough to make and very tasty, although I doubt mine would look as good as yours. I'm a pescatarian as I like fish, but not interested in other meat. I love Quorn, they are great for adding to different meals like I would with chicken for my husband (we often cook two separate meals! Thanks so much for linking up to #HowtoSunday :) x

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    1. Thank you Jenny :-) Hot water crust is a great pastry - it's lovely to handle and really quite forgiving, I'm sure you'd make a great pie with it :-) Quorns great isn't it, it so versatile and can be used in all manner of 'meat' based dishes.
      Thanks for popping by jenny and of course for hosting your great linky,
      Angela x

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  16. These little pies look delightful! I've never worked with hot water pastry before either but you've made it sound easier than I've always thought it would be. Thank you so much for joining in with #CookOnceEatTwice x

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    1. Thank you Corina, they were very yummy :-) Hot water crust pastry is do lovely to work with, it's so forgiving and straightforward to pull together, the only draw back is having to work swiftly with it.
      Thanks for popping by and of course for hosting,
      Angela x

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  17. I haven't had chicken pie since I was at school... and I got put off because the leftovers would be fed to the chickens on the school farm!

    Your veggie version sounds much nicer, and so easy to veganise too (I'd use my own chikkin seitan instead of Quorn). I love that you made little ones too - I have to do that because K isn't a pastry fan (yeah, I know, I know)!

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    1. Ewe, I'm not surprised - that doesn't sound very nice at all!
      Yes, I'd imagine it would be easy to veganise Nico, and I believe Quorn are even starting to produce a handful of vegan products now, so I guess that would be useful whn you're back in the UK. Small pies are just perfet for hubby & I - great to freeze - and I guess K could just have the filling with your your side dish. Not like pastry! ;-)
      Angela x

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