Ready, Steady, Bake: Pastry
Pastry can cover a massive variety of different delicious treats; from the dainty choux bun in a fancy cafe, to a hearty slab of beef wellington at your kitchen table (and plenty more between). Did you know that the first pastries were made by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans? They used something similar to our current day filo pastry to create honey cakes, sweet tarts, fruit pastries and dumpling stuffed with dates and nuts. They also used a pastry dough to cover meats and keep them moist whilst they cooked, but the pastry itself wasn’t eaten – it was thrown away once the cooking was finished.
Thankfully using meat and pastry continued throughout the centuries, and we now celebrate the crispy, flaky pastry when devouring a pie. Our weekly recipes have tended to focus on sweet treats, so for a change this week we decided to throw a savoury one into the mix. With the frosty (and rainy!) autumn closing in, a warming chicken and leek pie seemed like a great plan.
A Healthy Twist
As ever, we’re focussing on health and wellbeing by lowering the calorie and fat intake for each of our recipes. This week instead of shortcrust or puff, we’re using filo pastry and low calorie spray oil instead of butter. According to healthyfood.com: “Filo pastry has a huge health advantage because there is no fat in the mix. It is made solely from flour and water. Fat – in the form of melted butter, spread or oil – is brushed on the layers as they are assembled for recipes so the quantity of fat used is therefore up to the cook”.
Low Fat Chicken and Leek Pie*
- Low calorie spray oil
- 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size chunks
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- 1 carrot, chopped
- Handful of frozen peas
- 225ml low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
- 85g light soft cheese
- 2 tsp chopped tarragon leaves
- 2 sheets filo pastry
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Coat a medium frying pan with the low calorie oil spray. Add the chicken and then fry until browned, remove it from the pan and set aside. Add the leek and a splash of water, and gently fry until they are soft (approx. 7 minutes). Add the carrot and peas and cook for 3 minutes more. Pour in the stock and boil until reduced by half, then add the mustard and soft cheese, stirring well to combine. Return the chicken to the pan, add the tarragon and some seasoning.
Divide the mixture between 2 small ovenproof dishes. Take the filo sheets and scrunch them up. Top each pie with a sheet and spray with a few squirts of the low calorie spray oil. Cook the pies in the oven for 15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and crispy.
To make this vegetarian: supplement the chicken pieces for a suitable veggie alternative (such as Quorn) and switch the chicken stock to vegetable stock. You will need to cook the “chicken” pieces in the sauce rather than frying first.
We hope you enjoy making this recipe – perhaps one to sit down and eat with a friend or relative. If you take any pictures, we’d love to see them; please share them with us on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.
*Please note, the image used here is from stock photography. For a link to the original recipe and their picture, please click here.