Chicken & Leek Pasties…YUM! The origins of the pasty (pronounced pass-tee) are unclear, but it is most usually associated with Cornwall, England not Ireland. However, I ate my first pasty while living in Ireland and therefore when presented with one, warm memories of Ireland always accompany it. That’s why I thought I’d include this recipe on Day 5 of my St. Patrick’s Day offerings. A pasty is a pastry case filled with a meat/vegetable mixture, sealed by crimping the edges and then baked. Basically, a meat pie. I think I’ve mentioned before that I love meat pies, no matter what name they go by, be it pasties, empanadas, bridies, peirogis, pot pies or calzones. All of them deee-licious!
This is my favourite Pasty recipe. It is slightly adapted from the River Cottage Every Day cookbook. I doubled the amount of filling that the original recipe called for and combined the chicken and filling in the pan before filling the dough. These pasties are a good size for a meal, but you could reduce the size a bit and they would be great little appetizers!
Chicken & Leek Pasties
recipe adapted from: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “River Cottage Every Day” and Serious Eats
yield: 4 Pasties
For the rough puff pastry:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- a pinch of sea salt
- 2/3 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
For the Filling:
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5-6 Leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
- 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/3 Cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons English Mustard
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- The breast of a rotisserie chicken, shredded (if using fresh chicken – 12 ounces )
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of milk, for glazing
Preheat oven to 375° F.
To make the pastry, mix the flour with the salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
Add the cubed butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add just enough ice water ( 8 – 10 tablespoons) to bring the mixture together into a fairly firm dough.
Shape the dough into a rectangle with your hands and on a well-floured surface, roll it out in one direction, away from you, so that you end up with a rectangle about 3/8″ thick. Fold the far third towards you, then fold the nearest third over that (like folding a letter), so that you now have a rectangle made up of 3 equal layers. Give the pastry a quarter turn, then repeat the rolling, folding and turning process 5 more times. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
While the dough is chilling, make the filling. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the leeks and thyme and cook gently for 5 -10 minutes, until the leeks are very tender. Stir in the cream and cook gently for 4 – 5 minutes to reduce and thicken. Stir in the mustard, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the shredded chicken to the pan and stir thoroughly to coat and combine. Let cool.
If using fresh chicken, season well and fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until cooked. Once it has cooled, shred and add to leek mixture.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to about 1/8″ thick. Using a plate or cake pan as a template, cut out four 8″ circles.
Brush the around the edges of the circle with the egg wash. Spoon the leek/chicken mixture on to one half of each circle. Fold the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp the edges to seal.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush the tops of the pasties with the egg wash. Slice a couple small slits in the top of each pastie. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Eat hot or cold as you wish.