Live out your English country bumpkin fantasy by donning a white pinny and making a chicken and mushroom pie. Juicy chicken pieces in an oozy, molten creamy mushroom sauce, topped with golden and crisp puff pastry. Dust your hands with flour, get out your pie dish or a skillet and get down to work.
Prefer a pot pie to a pie pie? (We’ll get into that later.) This turkey marsala pot pie recipe is a welcome break from holiday turkey leftovers.
It’s comfort in pie form. The baking pie wraps you in a heady aroma of mushroom and cream that bubbles away gently beneath a buttery and crisp crust.
It’s a warm oven, a lovingly homemade and hand-crafted meal in the bosom of family. It’s a fantasy of simpler living beside open fires in cottages in villages where people wear flat caps, keep whippets and say “Mornan!”
But that’s not where it all began. Most likely those ancient, pastry-loving Greeks can be credited with the invention of the chicken pie; an open filo shell filled with meat and cheese.
Then the Romans were partial too and furnished theirs with a roof. Skip forward a few civilisations and the pie lands on UK shores in medieval times, where, I tentatively suggest, it began its long journey towards being a national dish.
Chicken Pie vs Chicken Pot Pie
Before we get into the finer points of pie, let me just say, it’s how it tastes that counts! There is a great pie debate out there, but I’m too busy eating mine to join in.
Pie or pot pie? Puff, flaky or shortcrust? Just the roof, or walls and floor too?
Chicken pie – what the Brits call it. It will definitely be topped with pastry, most likely the puff variety. It might be supported with shortcrust walls and flooring. Savoury pie recipes include: chicken with bacon or ham, chicken and vegetables, or chicken and leeks.
Chicken pot pie – what the Americans call it. There is some argument as to whether there is just crust on top or all around the structure. What’s your take? It’s agreed that it should be deep dish and contain vegetables.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of a chicken pie, and I’m sure after tasting this recipe you will be too. Try my chicken and leek pie recipe for another variation!
Mashed potato is the ideal partner for a chicken and mushroom pie, in fact, any savoury pie. If you’re looking for more than a classic mash to soak up that gravy, try Instant Pot mashed potatoes with cream cheese for a super quick, thick and mildly cheesy recipe. Or a more wintery and luxurious recipe: creamy celeriac and potato mash with brown butter.
I cannot eat a meal without something green on the side. Lemon and garlic green beans are my go-to year-round. But for a winter’s table, you can’t beat a carrot! Roasted rainbow carrots are a welcome crunch.
Recipe tips and notes
- I use a cast iron skillet to make the filling and cook the pie. Not only does it give the finished pie a rustic look, it’s less washing up!
- Don’t feel bad for cutting the pastry-making corner. I don’t! Just choose a good quality, all-butter pre-made puff pastry. I love a flaky top, but if shortcrust is more your thing, try making your own with my steak and ale pie recipe.
- Take time over cooking the filling. Especially the onions. That buttery onion smell is swoon worthy.
- Mushroom is one of my favourite ingredients and they are perfect in pies. I’ve used a pack of mixed mushrooms in this one. The variety of flavours and textures will dramatically up your pie-high. Be a bit braver than button!
- Tarragon is an unsung herb hero. It has a fresh, light liquorice tone that really compliments chicken. Even if you are not a fan of anise flavours, I urge you to try it in your pie! If you really can’t bear the thought of it though, thyme or rosemary will also work well.
- This is crucial: allow your filling to cool for at least 30 minutes before topping with the puff pastry lid. If you jump the gun, you’ll have a sad, soggy top.
- Once you’ve arranged the pie’s lid, cut a couple of slits into the pastry. This allows steam to escape while the pie cooks, which also ensures a solid structure and a risen and crispy roof.
- Allow the pie to rest for 20 minutes before serving. This does two things; it will help the inside of the pie to hold, so it doesn’t flow out like lava when cut into; and it won’t take the roof off your mouth.
Storage and leftovers
Is there anyone who doesn’t have chicken pie in their freezer? I always do, so I like to make one and freeze one. After assembling both pies they say their goodbyes. One is oven-bound and the other freezer-bound.
You can bake and then freeze your pie, just under bake it ever so slightly and allow it to cool completely before storing. I tend not to and cover it with foil straightaway. The frozen pies will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat a baked frozen pie, give it 15-20 minutes at 180C/ 350F. To cook an unbaked frozen pie, it needs 30-35 minutes at 200C/400F. Check the chicken is cooked through before serving.
Keep any dinner leftovers in the fridge, covered well, for 2-3 days.
More chicken breast recipes
Chicken and Mushroom Pie
- 2 tbsp butter divided
- 1 onion diced
- 300 g /4 cups mixed mushrooms or button mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 700 g / 1½ chicken breasts cut into bit-sized pieces
- 1-2 tarragon sprigs, leaves only or 1 tsp dried tarragon
- 3 tbsp flour
- 250 ml / 1 cup chicken stock
- 250 ml / 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 300 g / 10 oz puff pastry
- 1 egg beaten
- Melt 1 tbsp butter in a cast iron skillet and cook the diced onion for 5 minutes over low heat. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes longer, then add the minced garlic and cook for half a minute, season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan to a separate plate.
- To the same pan the remaining tbsp of butter and the cut up chicken breasts. Brown on the outside, the chicken doesn’t have to be cooked all the way at this point, then add the chopped tarragon. Sprinkle the flour and stir until the mixture is coated, then stir in chicken stock gradually, continue stirring until the mixture thickens for a couple of minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour in heavy cream and the mustard and simmer for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stir once in a while to prevent the bottom from burning. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Turn the oven on to 200C/400F and cool the mixture for about 30 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken and mushroom filling into a pie plate or if cooking it in a cast iron skillet, leave it as it is.
- On a floured surface roll out the puff pastry to a ¼ inch thick circle, then cover the top of the pie plate with it and press on the edges to seal. Brush with an egg wash and cut slits into the pastry for ventilation, bake in the preheated to 200C/400F oven for 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and the mixture underneath is bubbling. (You can cut decorative leaves out of the pastry scraps and place on top of the pie.)