My Easy Chicken Pot Pies to celebrate the arrival of Autumn

I made Chicken Pot pies…finally! My family has been nagging me for ever to make chicken pies again, but frankly, it was just too hot to even bother, so when Easter weekend arrived and brought with it the lovely rainy weather, I made pot pies, while the rest of the the Christendom made roast lamb. I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Weekend, I was surrounded by family, friends, good food and lots of love to go around…..
Before you start wondering what the difference is between a pot pie and a normal chicken pie….. I wondered too! I always that it was a pie, made in a small cup or small ramekin. Well, the mighty Wiki says that a pot pie has a “top and bottom completely encrusted by flaky pastry and baked inside a pie tin to hold its shape”.
The other important part of a chicken pie, is of course the filling and trust me, there are so many varieties and recipes for delicious fillings, but like in many households, a mother has to settle on a recipe that satisfies  “the critics!” My family will gladly have sweet peas and baby carrots as side dishes to their pie, but inside, they want a filling that is creamy, simple and full of chicken flavor. To cut a long story short, after trying many recipes, this recipe is the one my family loves and apparently all the guests I had at my house on Friday too.

My Easy Chicken Pot Pies
makes 1 huge pie( serves 8) or  8 individual pot pies

10 chicken breasts – I buy with skin and bone
1 large onion – roughly chopped
4 cloves
4 sprigs of thyme of 2 t dry thyme
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil
1 x 250 ml sour cream
1 bunch of leeks
2 T butter
1 t smoked paprika ( optional)
2 heaped T Ina Paarman Roast Onion Soup/Gravy Powder
a little boiling water or pan juices if needed  – about ½ cup
2 rolls of puff pastry when making 1 big pie and 3 rolls when making individual pies.

Preheat oven to 180C.  Place the chopped onion in the bottom of a roasting pan. Clean and wipe chicken breasts with paper towel and place on top of the onions. Drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt, pepper and thyme. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the chicken and place uncovered in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the juices run clear when a knife is inserted in the thickest part of the breast. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the oven and  use two forks and remove all bones from the chicken. Keep for stock. NB. If you have issues with chicken skin, remove, but if your chicken is cooked properly and the skin is nice and crispy, cut it into smaller pieces and add to the chicken. It imparts a lovely flavor to your chicken pie.
Clean and chop the leeks, I use the white parts and about halfway up the green part. Heat a pot on the stove and add the butter and smoked paprika. Once the butter has melted, add the  leeks and saute until soft and buttery. Add the chopped up chicken and the water or pan juices just to get the  chicken going. Add the sour cream and mix the soup powder with a little cold water and stir it into the chicken. The sauce should now be creamy and delicious, but not too runny. Taste and adjust accordingly. Cool the filling completely.
When the filling is cold, roll out the pastry and make pies in whatever size you wish. One tip though, when lining your baking dish with pastry, brush the pastry with egg wash, it makes almost a barrier between filling and pastry and prevents soggy pastry.
Serve with sweet garden peas and baby carrots and maybe a serving of creamy mash on the side.

Cook’s Note:
You can make your own puff pastry, with this easy recipe, this is what readers had to say about it:

Nina hierdie is n ONGELOOFLIKE RESEP!!!!! SAl NOOIT WEER IETS ANDERS PROBEER!!! was altyd bang vir die maak van puff pastry..MAAR DANKSY JOU..IS DIT NOU MAKLIK EN OHhhh so nice!!!!:-)

 More Pie Recipes 

Lastly, I wish to ask forgiveness for my poor photography in this post. When 35 people are watching you do a photoshoot and complaining about how hungry they are….. it is tough!