This is a great combination of ingredients: buttery pastry, salty, lemony-fresh filling, which will work as well with a chilled chardonnay as it will with a chilled lager. Cook the pies in a tartlet tray or deep muffin tray, or individual pie tins.
If you don't have tartlet of muffin tins, make in enamel pie tins.
500g (1 lb) flaky or puff pastry (I used flaky puff pastry from Panetton, but you could use butter-puff pastry sheets) 2 small leeks 400g (14 oz) skinned and boned chicken thighs 1 Tbsp creamy Dijonnaise mustard 1 Tbsp standard flour 2 Tbsp butter Salt Freshly ground black pepper 100g (3½ oz) free-range streaky bacon, chopped ½ cup crème fraîche 1 Tbsp tarragon or white wine vinegar 1 tsp dried tarragon 1 whole egg plus 2 egg yolks plus 1 lightly beaten egg for glazing (medium / size 6, free-range eggs)
1 If using a block of pastry, roll it out thinly. For deep muffin tins cut out 12 x 8cm (3”) circles for pie tops, and 12 x 11cm (bit wider than 4”) circles for pie bases, re-rolling scraps if necessary. (Adjust to suit your chosen pie size.) This way, the best pastry is used for the top of the pies and the rerolled thinner pastry for the bottom. Chill on a tray.
2 Trim leeks, cut in half down the length, wash well, and chop.
3 Cut chicken into small pieces no bigger than an olive, removing and discarding any fat. Put chicken in a bowl and mix through mustard. Leave for 10 minutes to flavour, then sprinkle with flour. Heat a medium-large sized frying pan (skillet) over medium heat and when it is hot, drop in 1½ tablespoons butter. Add chicken, increase heat to high and fry until coloured on one side; don’t stir. Once it’s browned. tilt the pan for a minute, then transfer chicken to a plate and season with salt and pepper.
4 Add bacon to pan and fry until golden. Transfer to the plate with the chicken. Add leeks, remaining ½ tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons water. Lower heat, cover with a lid and cook very gently for about 10 minutes, until nearly tender, adding a little more water if pan becomes dry. Cool (if watery, tilt pan and drain), then season with a little salt and pepper.
5 Transfer chicken, bacon and leeks to a large bowl. Stir through crème fraîche, vinegar, dried tarragon and egg and egg yolks.
6 Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Press pastry into tins and fill with chicken mixture. Dampen pastry tops with water, place on top of pies and press to seal. Make a small steam hole in each pie. Brush pastry with beaten egg. Bake for 25-35 minutes until a good golden colour. Cool briefly before serving.
Chilling the pastry after rolling and cutting is essential to stop the pastry from becoming limp and unmanageable.
If you have fresh tarragon, use it instead, adding 1-1½ tablespoons chopped tarragon.
Don’t make the pies in china dishes because the pastry on the bottom will not brown.