Belinda's chicken, leek and tarragon pie

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In the colder months, nothing beats indulging in our favourite comfort foods. Living in the countryside means that we are spoilt for choice, with good quality ingredients right on our doorstep and at local farmers markets. A warming chicken pie is perfect for a mid-week supper and a recipe my family have always enjoyed. This recipe requires you to roast a whole Sutton Hoo Chicken, (which you can prepare the night before). With any leftover chicken and the carcass you can fresh homemade stock to use as the base for this recipe. Stock simply doesn’t taste the same (or offer the same health benefits) when it’s supermarket-bought. You can read all about how to make stock here and find out all about the amazing health benefits it carries.

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Ingredients:

1oz of butter
3 leeks, washed and chopped and chopped
1 tablespoon of plain flour
150ml white wine
150ml home Sutton Hoo chicken stock
150ml cream
2kg Whole Sutton Hoo Chicken
1 generous handful of chopped tarragon leaves
375g puff pastry (if you don’t have time to make it you can buy this from most supermarkets)
1 egg, beaten

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Method:

1.      Preheat the oven to 220 degrees, gas mark 7 for 10 minutes before turning down to 200.

2.      Melt the knob of butter in a large casserole dish, add the leeks and fry gently.

3.      Gently stir in the flour for a minute and remove from heat.

4.      Slowly pour in the white wine and chicken stock and return to the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the cream, making sure               the dish is on a low-moderate heat.

5.      Carve your roast Sutton Hoo Chicken and discard the skin and bones. Chop into chunks of chicken and stir into the sauce.

6.      Add a small amount of tarragon, taste and season with salt and milled black pepper.

7.      Pour the mixture into a large pie dish. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface.

8.      Gently place the pastry on top of the pie mixture, cut away at the edges and finish by pressing down the edges with a fork and                 making a small hole in the top for steam.

9.      Brush the top with your beaten egg and leave in the fridge for about 20 minutes or so.

10.   Finish by baking in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Make sure you check on the pie frequently in case           the temperature is too hot.

This delicious pie is perfect for any day of the week and also great for getting friends round for a bite to eat on a Friday or Saturday night. We recommend serving with carrots, peas and basmati rice. If you are fancying a more indulgent dish pair with creamed mashed potatoes instead of rice.

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Top tip - Always make a little extra stock just in case you fancy having a jug of gravy on the table.

Ellie Collins