Spiced Chicken Pies

As a nation we love a pie – and we do them well. And for those who do love pies you are living in the right city. There are good pies being made left right and centre. For us we can’t walk past the Ginger pig at lunch time without stopping and choosing one of their homemade hot little pies, our favourite being the pork and fennel which we break up and share with a dollop of English mustard. We also have a soft spot for their chicken and tarragon pie. Newans The original Maids of Honour have been making pies for 150 years so they sure have had their practice, and oh they make a good homemade pie.. their traditional apple pie with custard is one of the best we have had, immediately transports you back to childhood. Putney Pies is pretty good too (They claim to be the finest pies in the land). But never have we been so star struck by a pie as after seeing Calum Franklins pies at The Holborn Dining Room – my oh my, these are more than pies, they are mini pie masterpieces. We have been meaning to book into one of his pie masterclasses and after looking at our pies (at least they look rustic?) we are going to book in for the next available slot! This recipe is a little lighter than your normal chicken pie, wrapped in filo pastry (which can you buy, no need to make yourself) and lightly spiced, slightly Middle Easton vibes with a sweetness coming in from the apricots and a crunch from the almonds. We really love this pie, its super easy, and will either produce one big one for a lunch at the weekend or create four small ones. The small ones we make to feed two, then wrap them up and pop them in the freezer so you have homemade pies at the ready for weeks where you are too busy to cook in the evening and stops you picking up a nasty ready made from the supermarket. Make sure you fully defrost the pie before baking it for supper.


    8 chicken thighs

    for poaching:

    1 onion halved

    stick of ginger

    head of garlic halved

    cinnamon stick


    200g dried apricots, roughly chopped

    150g, toasted almonds, roughly chopped

    2 onions, chopped

    4 cloves of garlic, chopped

    5cm piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

    1 tbsp ground coriander

    1 tbsp turmeric

    1 tbsp ground cumin

    1 bunch of coriander, chopped

    Juice of one orange

    large glass of white wine

    1 bunch parsley, chopped

    100ml crème fraiche

    3 eggs, beaten

    Zest of 1 orange

    Pack of filo pastry


    Knob of butter

    1 tsp Ground cinnamon

    1 tsp sugar


    Pistachios (optional of topping)


Place the chicken thighs in a pan with the other poaching ingredients (you can also use left over cooked chicken or turkey for this) in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes till just cooked, take out the liquid, leave to cool then shred.

Heat a little oil in a pan and add the onions, garlic and ginger, sauté for 5 mins or so then add the turmeric, coriander and cumin, cook for a further two minutes then add the white wine and orange juice, bubble for a couple of moments then take off the heat, Add in the apricots, almonds, shredded chicken, coriander and parsley and combine, season.

Mix together the crème fraiche, eggs, orange zest and stir into the mixture.

Melt a knob of butter in a pan and add the cinnamon and sugar, take off the heat.

Arrange your pie dishes in front of you  - place a sheet of filo over the base, take a pastry brush and brush with the butter mixture, place another sheet on a diagonal, brush with butter and then a third piece on the opposite diagonal so you have created a little nest for the filling. Repeat for the other pie dishes and divide the mixture between them. Fold the filo up on top in a relaxed manor, bush with butter and sprinkle with pistachios if using. Either cover and place in the freezer or heat the oven to 180c and bake for about 30 minutes till golden.