Traditional English cooking: chicken and ham pie with peas, a luscious white sauce, and puff pastry.
This chicken and ham pie is a real family dish, easy to make, and comforting. It’s perfect for serving on a weeknight and also suitable for Sunday lunch or dinner. And you can be pretty sure that everybody, picky kids included, will love it!
A bonus of cooking or mostly baking some of the dishes and cakes mentioned in the Harry Potter series is that I learn a little bit more about English cooking.
And in case you are wondering why I was mentioning Harry Potter in the beginning. The chicken and ham pie is mentioned in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix chapter “Seen and Unforeseen.” (Amazon affiliate link)
If you are interested in some of the other Harry Potter recipes, check the Pumpkin Pasties, Treacle Tart, Molly’s Fruit Mince Pies, Hagrid’s Rock Cakes, the Book of Monsters Cake, Ron’s Chocolate Gateau, or Slughorn’s Crystallized Pineapple.
- You will need about 500 g/ 1 lb of boneless skinless chicken breast.
- Cook fresh pieces as described below or use leftovers, either breast or other parts. Just the meat, discard any bones and skin.
- Should you happen to have turkey leftovers, they would be great as well.
- Regular cooked ham is fine, nothing fancy.
- It is preferable to buy ham in one piece or at least thicker slices, which you can easily chop yourself.
- I use already rolled puff pastry from the refrigerator section of the supermarket.
- You should never roll already rolled pastry again; many people do that; I have no idea why. The pastry is perfect as it is; all you have to do is to trim it to fit the dish.
- If using frozen pastry, thaw and roll it according to the packet’s instructions.
- The frozen peas are added to the pot with the chicken during the last minutes of the cooking time.
- If using cooked chicken leftovers, defrost the peas before using them; there is no need to cook them.
- Regular spices used when making chicken stock: black peppercorns, bay leaves, and allspice.
- A stock cube (or powder) is also necessary to add some flavor. As you will only cook the meat shortly, there will not be enough time for the flavors to develop. A stock cube does help in this case.
How to make chicken and ham pie?
- If cooking the meat, start by placing the breasts in a soup pot. Add water and spices.
- Bring to a boil, add a little salt and the stock cube, turn the heat down and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.
- Add the frozen peas during the last 3 minutes of the cooking time.
- If using leftover chicken, remove the skin and the bones, if necessary. Then, defrost the peas and set them aside.
- Take the chicken breast out of the cooking water, and let it cool down for about 5 minutes.
- Chop into 2 cm/ 0.7 inch cubes.
- Chop the ham into small cubes as well.
- Drain the peas reserving the cooking water.
- Discard the spices.
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
- Cook the very finely chopped onion until golden.
- Sprinkle the flour on top and stir gently until the flour gets lightly golden as well.
- Gradually add 200 ml/ 6.7 fl. oz/ scant 1 cup of the reserved cooking water and the milk while whisking continuously.
- Turn the heat down and stir until the desired thickness is achieved about 8 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
- Stir in the chicken, ham, and peas. Adjust the taste again.
- Pour the mixture into a pie dish of about 28 cm/ 11 inches in diameter.
- If using already rolled puff pastry, unroll the disc and cover the pie with it.
- Seal the pie by pressing the pastry disc firmly on the side of the dish. I used a fork and pressed and crimped all around the pie dish. Trim off the excess pastry.
- You could use this excess to cut out leaves, flowers (or whatever you like) to decorate the pie with. It is not a necessary step, though.
- Mix the egg yolk and the milk in a small bowl. Brush the pastry. Place the leaves/flowers on top of the pastry and brush them with egg as well.
- Make a small slit (x) in the middle of the pie and some simple slits two or three times around the edges of the pie.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.
How to serve?
- Serve the pie immediately. Leftovers still taste delicious, but the pastry will not be crispy anymore.
- A chicken and ham pie is really a complete meal; all you will need as a side dish are a salad or some cooked or roasted vegetables.
Here are some suggestions:
- Green Salad with Yogurt Dressing
- Roast Pumpkin Salad
- French Style Green Beans
- White Cabbage Salad
- Cucumber Salad with Dill
More puff pastry:
- Cheese and Onion Pasties
- Ham and Cheese Croissants
- Sweet Potato Pie
- Asparagus Appetizer with Mayonnaise
- Cheese Twists
Chicken and Ham Pie
- Pie dish (about 28 cm/ 11 inches diameter)
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 5 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 allspice corns
- 1 cube organic chicken stock
- 1 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 7 oz g/ 7 oz cooked ham
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 scant cup cooking water from the chicken
- 1 1/3 cup cup milk
- 1 disc puff pastry large enough to cover the pie, about 30 cm/ 12 inches diameter (See note)
- 1 egg yolk + 2 tablespoons milk
- a few gratings of nutmeg
- fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook chicken: Place the chicken breasts in a pot, cover with water. Add peppercorns, bay leaves, allspice. Bring to a boil, add a little sea salt and the stock cube, turn the heat down, simmer for about 10 minutes or until the chicken breasts are cooked through. Add the frozen peas during the last 3 minutes of the cooking time. If using leftover chicken remove the skin and the bones (if necessary), chop the meat. Defrost the peas and set aside.
- Chop chicken: Lift the chicken from the water, let it cool for a about 5 minutes. Chop into 2 cm/ 0.7 inch cubes. Chop the ham into small cubes as well. Drain the peas reserving the cooking water. Discard the spices.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- White sauce: Chop the onion finely. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Cook the onion until golden. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir gently until the flour gets lightly golden as well. Gradually add 200 ml/ 6.7 fl. oz/ scant 1 cup of the reserved cooking water and the milk while whisking continuously. Turn the heat down and stir until the desired thickness is achieved, about 8 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
- Combine: Take off the heat and stir in the chicken, ham, and peas. Adjust the taste again, adding more salt, pepper, and nutmeg if necessary. Pour the mixture into a pie dish of about 28 cm/ 11 inches diameter.
- Cover with pastry: Unroll the puff pastry disc and cover the pie with it. Seal the pie by pressing the pastry disc firmly on the sides of the dish. I used a fork and pressed and crimped all around the pie dish. Trim off the excess pastry. You could use this excess to cut out leaves or flowers to decorate the pie with. It is not a necessary step.
- Egg wash: Mix the egg yolk and the milk in a small bowl. Brush the pastry with this mixture. Place the leaves/flowers on top of the pie and brush them with egg as well.
- Bake: Make a small slit in the form of an X in the middle of the pie and some simple slits two or three times around the edges of the pastry. Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown.