Chicken and Leek Pasties

Chicken and Leek Pasty Recipe

Pasties are the classic British portable lunch – much like calzoni in Italy – the most famous variety of which is almost certainly the Cornish pasty. They are eaten all over the UK and sold in every bakery from Land’s End to John o’Groats – the two points farthest from one another on our great island (876 miles). Considered Cornwall’s “national” dish and geographically protected – much like champagne – the pasty is thought to have been taken up outside of England’s western most county following the emigration of Cornish miners in the late nineteenth century, along with Rugby Union. As good as this spread of British culinary tradition to the diaspora is for receiving countries, I can’t help but feel the South Pacific countries have become a little too good at rugby.

Chicken and leek is another classic pasty filling, one that’s generally lighter and used in a wide array of pastries and pies. Leeks have a delicious and robust flavour that pairs extremely well with chicken, particularly the more flavoursome brown meat. Indeed, if making these pasties I recommend roasting a whole chicken beforehand, saving the breast meat for curries and stews (it tends to be a little drier), using the carcass to make a large pot of chicken stock and employing the brown meat where its texture and flavour can be best appreciated. Naturally, a creamy filling accompanies leek and chicken – gravy would simply smother the flavour. A simple béchamel sauce seemed most appropriate as a result of its viscosity – we wouldn’t want soggy parcels, now would we?

Chicken and Leek Pasty Recipe

Many different varieties of pastry can be used in the baking of pasties – rough puff, short crust, filo – any will do. However, as someone who likes to stick roughly to tradition, hot water crust pastry is my personal choice. Being made with hot water it can be a rather tricky pastry to handle, though it is incredibly quick to make – far faster than short crust, which isn’t exactly notorious for excessive time consumption. For basic recipes like this, Jamie Oliver always seems to come up with the goods and he does so again here. Of course, I’ll give you the recipe in full below – but credit where it’s due!

Local connection: Where possible, invest in well-sourced and ethically produced meat bought from a local supplier. As usual, we purchased out chicken from Source in Bristol – if you’re in the area it comes highly recommended!

Chicken and Leek Pasties

Makes 6


for the pastry:

• 125g salted butter

• 150ml hot water

• 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

• ½ tsp salt

• 1 medium egg, beaten

• A handful of ground polenta

for the filling:

• 200g chicken

• 2 leeks, finely chopped

• Olive oil

• 1 clove of garlic, mashed

• Small knob of butter

• 1 tbsp plain flour

• 300ml whole milk

• A little freshly grated nutmeg

• Salt


1. Bring the water and butter to a boil in a saucepan, remove from heat and stir in flour and salt. Beat until you have a dough – turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Pop into the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

2. Meanwhile, sauté the leeks and garlic in a little olive oil. Once translucent, add the chicken and heat through.

3. In a separate pan melt a small knob of butter, stir in the plain flour and cook for a minute, stirring. Tip in the milk and nutmeg and whisk until thick and creamy. Add to the chicken mixture.

4. After 30 minutes has elapsed roll out your pastry on a floured surface until around 0.5cm thick. Cut into six circles of around 15cm diameter. Scatter a baking tray with polenta, place the pastry circles on top and fill each with a little of the mixture. Preheat the oven to 180C.

5. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg, fold the pastry in half, enclosing the mixture. Press the edges down and crimp between thumb and finger. Baste each with a little egg and scatter over the remaining polenta. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown – serve with a side salad.

Chicken and Leek Pasty Recipe

Cost: Being mainly composed of flour and butter, almost every type of pastry is inherently frugal. This means that in this recipe the filling is the main source of expense, the cost of which can be reduced considerably by roasting a whole chicken and storing the meat for later. Indeed, after employing that course of action these pasties set us back a mere £4.50 – for enough to feed six!

83 comments on “Chicken and Leek Pasties

  1. cookinginsens
    March 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I like these very much Frugal. Great photos.

  2. Dianna
    March 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    thank you, thank you. I will make these soon.

  3. flyingmomallergyfree
    March 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Oh these look fabulous much like walking pot pies.mmmmm. I will be making these ( allergen free) soon.

  4. spree
    March 24, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    A lovely recipe, Nick, ditto the photos and a much-needed education on pasties (which, ’til now, I believed were the sole purview of those bouncy ladies in burlesque shows.) 😀

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm

      Haha indeed – I’m not sure which I prefer.

  5. Mama's Gotta Bake
    March 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    They look wonderful and I love the idea of a portable lunch!

  6. countrywoodsmoke
    March 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    A fantastic recipe, these look real gems, I love a good pasty, your photos are stunning, and I like the polenta on top too.

  7. livliveslife
    March 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Ohhh my goodness, I love pasties. The only kind my family ever makes is traditional (beef) from a recipe my great great grandmother brought over from England. However, I’ll definitely have to try this version soon! Thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      I’ll be doing a beef version soon! Can’t wait!

  8. Linne
    March 24, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Hello, my friend! I have awarded you the “Very Inspiring Blogger” award. Please see my post today for information. (Note that you may use short answers to the seven questions; I just never know when to stop!). You SO deserve this award, for you, like the other recipients, have inspired me many times. 🙂 ~ Linne

    March 24, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Nice touch with the sprinkle of polenta … gotta try that.

  10. strawberryquicksand
    March 24, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    How nice! I made a pastie-inspired sausage roll recently and was looking for other fillings to use. (read: pastie inspired… read: too damned lazy to make the pastry and make pasties… easier to defrost a sheet of puff and stick the filling in and roll er up…) The only thing I am quizzical about regarding your recipe (well, okay, two things. I just thought of another). Is the chook cooked before use, or did you use raw chicken? And is it the roux that binds the filling properly? I think your recipe sounds delish!
    Cheers,Yvette 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm

      I’ve been thinking of making sausage rolls too! The chicken is cooked before use, but raw chicken in smallish chunks would also be fine. It is the roux that binds it! Thanks!

  11. Korena in the Kitchen
    March 24, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    I’ve never made hot water crust pastry but it looks perfect for this kind of thing. Great recipe Nick!

  12. movita beaucoup
    March 24, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    1. Yer blog is looking amazing.
    2. Those pasties are gorgeous.
    3. Yer photos are smashing.

  13. Barb Bamber (@justasmidgen1)
    March 25, 2013 at 3:07 am

    These would be a big hit in our home! That’s a new pastry technique/recipe for me, it must be fantastic if it’s that quick!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      IT’s one of my favourites – give it a shot, so easy!

  14. Moira
    March 25, 2013 at 4:25 am

    What a gorgeous photo! These look and sound amazing… although I’ll have to wait until I’m back on gluten.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks! I;m sure there must be a gluten free method somewhere.

  15. narf77
    March 25, 2013 at 7:16 am

    This is right up Steve’s alley. I make a mean shortcrust pastry and pasties are one of Steve’s favourite ways to eat crispy buttery crust. Your filling looks nice and creamy without being too runny and I am going to give it a go…”Stock” and “Pot” are starting to crow more than they should and it might be time for a night time raid on their roost 😉

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Mine too – another recipe will follow too :D.

  16. Juls
    March 25, 2013 at 7:33 am

    It’s been a while since I had the time to properly read all the blog updates I’ve wanted to but now it’s the holidays and I’m having a good indulge. Can I say how amazing your blog is looking? Your pictures and the design are all looking amazingly steller and it’s refreshing and fun to get back to reading your corking dry wit and cheek 😛

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Haha – thanks, Juls! I’ve been working hard on it :D.

  17. chef mimi
    March 25, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    These look so good, no matter what they cost!!!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Absolutely – I shall do another recipe soon enough!

  18. Katrina Tauchen
    March 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Beautiful! And they sound delicious, too!

  19. allythebell
    March 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    This is one of the few things I remember from living in England as a kid. Yours definitely look memorable!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks – they are. Can’t wait to make them again!

  20. Jude
    March 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    This isn’t just a comment about these wonderful pasties. I have to say that I just love 99% of the recipes you put up, but sometimes don’t have enough time to comment. I follow too many blogs! Suffice to say this is a fabulous blog and thank you for all the great recipes which I will eventually try!

  21. Kim Bultman
    March 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I have to ask. How do you pronounce pasties? I’ve heard so many variations… I’m relying on you for the “official” version. 🙂

  22. baconbiscuit212
    March 25, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous, Nick! I wouldn’t dream of chucking the bready edge of this one like I would a normal pastie!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks, Daisy! No, the crust is the best bit!

  23. Tonette Joyce
    March 26, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Nutmeg…I often use nutmeg in savory dishes.Good job!

  24. Sacha
    March 26, 2013 at 12:50 am

    No “soggy parcels”: words to live by. These look great!

  25. Karista
    March 26, 2013 at 1:55 am

    I love Pasties! Here in the South we call them fried pies. 🙂 Usually filled with peaches, apples or some sort of fruit or pudding. But I do prefer them savory and these chicken and leek Pasties look delicious. My kind of Pastie. Love the new site Frugal! 🙂

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      Interesting, didn’t know that – you fry everything though, right?! 😀 Thanks, Karista!

  26. Natalie Ward
    March 26, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I love your new look it’s really clean & clear! Those pictures are beautiful too, I especially like the polenta makes you want to touch them. I’ve always wanted to try a hot water pastry ever since I saw Andy Bates make one, looks so quick & easy. I’m thinking of trying it with olive oil, do you know what the point of the hot water is btw? I’m thinking leek & mushroom filling, yum!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks, Natalie! I’m really enjoying thelook too. It’s so simple to make! Apparently olive oil works fairly well. I guess it just makes for a softer pastry.

  27. Natalie Ward
    March 26, 2013 at 10:54 am

    PS: I can’t “like” your recipes on WordPress at the top of the page anymore, is that something to do with self hosting?

    • Admin
      March 26, 2013 at 10:55 am

      I’ve deactivated it for now until I can work out how to stop it sending me emails! 😀

  28. RecipeAdaptors
    March 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Those look delicious 🙂

  29. souliotisio
    March 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Looks like a great recipe!

  30. 312east5th
    March 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    wow. there is no doubt that i will be baking this for supper tonight! I have a pile of leftover chicken that would do quite well tucked inside a little pastie!

  31. dedy oktavianus pardede
    March 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    tmpting to try, the parcell ifs far away to a soggy messy that i used to made..
    the polenta springkle made it more fancy looks…

  32. Somer
    March 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    The pastry is so pretty, At first I thought you’d used puff pastry, but of course you didn’t and it looks infinitely better because of it!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks, Somer! Yes, this is a really yummy pastry.

  33. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    March 27, 2013 at 4:39 am

    These look fabulous – I love the polenta coating – it must give these pies a great crunch!

  34. amintiridinbucatarie
    March 29, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I think the feeling can be almost anything, I just discovered that lately all I think about to cook are mushrooms, so I plan a mushroom filling 😛
    regards, Oana

  35. Kate Olsson
    March 31, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Love this! I’m such a sucker for the flavour combination of chicken and leek! Great job, Frugal!

  36. Pete Denton
    March 31, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Sadly, I can’t eat pastry because they look fantastic. I’m hungry now and need to go eat 🙂

  37. Brooke
    April 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

    This one’s going on the meal list this week. I’m already hungry just looking at them. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      Fantastic! Enjoy it – they are so delicious.

  38. Musing Mar
    April 21, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    These look delicious … Great comfort food on a cold spring day.

  39. seychellesmama
    June 27, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I love this pastry recipe, it’s perfect for a hot climate and super easy too!!

  40. Elizabeth
    September 21, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Hello, one question. I was looking at the photos and noticed the orange bits, which are not found in the ingredients. Are those carrots?

  41. chef mimi
    November 1, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    These are just gorgeous! I LOVE the filling!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Thank you! The filling, I seem to remember, was delicious.

  42. Brenda Rossi
    February 5, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    I made these tonight, although I used puff pastry instead (a bit lazy tonight)! I added some Dijon mustard and chicken stock powder to the filling for some extra flavour. These were very nice and enjoyed by all. I did, however, had to add a little more flour to the roux as the sauce didn’t thicken enough. Thanks for your recipe.

    • frugalfeeding
      February 6, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Glad you enjoyed them! Flour can often act different depending on batches.

  43. Tina
    October 24, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Please could you let me know if you freeze them before cooking or after also what is the orange bits in the filling x

  44. Claire from Gloucester
    May 8, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Hiya, loved the overall taste but just wanted to check if you meant half a tbsp or half a tsp salt in pastry? I carefully measured but we have had to discard pastry as so salty, I can’t work out where I went wrong?? X

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