Chicken and Ham Tangle Pie

I'm not going to beat about the bush. This pie is amazing. We've pretty much made it every week since we found the recipe in the September issue of Good Food magazine. It's just so good...I urge you to make it this weekend.

Apologies now for the fact that my photos aren't as good today. I left my camera at a friends house and haven't gone back to pick it up. However it gave me a good excuse to try out the camera on the new iPhone 5 and to say these pictures were taken at 8:30pm (read: rubbish light) I'm pretty happy with them. 

This pie recipe is originally from The Hairy Bikers latest cookbook, 'The Hairy Dieters'. It serves 5 and is approximately 462 calories per serving. It's very filling as well so we usually just have it on its own, and seeing as there is just two of us to feed in our house, it stretches out to lunches the next day. So, amazingly tasty, low fat AND thrifty pie? Alright then!

With this pie you can use a 1kg whole cooked chicken or 500g cooked chicken breast meat. I haven't tried it with cooked chicken breast meat because we get a little fancy and cook a whole chicken just before making the pie. That might sound like a faff, and if you haven't got the time it's perfectly ok to use pre-cooked chicken, but it makes for a really delicious chickeny flavour just because of the extra juices.

It's a great alternative to a Sunday roast, the chicken is still there but you're just taking it a step further in pie territory. As I write this I actually feel a little giddy just thinking about how much I LOVE THIS RECIPE...and breathe.

You can easily throw in extras to this pie as well, such is its infinite beauty. I like to add in 100g of mushrooms because I love mushrooms but it would be easy to par boil some carrots/cabbage/broccoli and throw them in when you add the stock cube.

Chicken and Ham Tangle Pie
(recipe from 'The Hairy Dieters' by The Hairy Bikers)

a few sprays of low fat oil
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 medium leek, trimmed and cut into thin slices
100ml white wine
150ml water
1 chicken stock cube
100g mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1kg whole cooked chicken or 500g cooked chicken breast meat
100g sliced smoked ham
2 tbsp plain flour
300g half-fat crème fraiche
freshly ground black pepper

3 sheets filo pastry, each about 38 x 30cm
1½–2½ tsp sunflower oil

  1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a low heat and add the onion and crushed garlic. Fry gently for 5 minutes until the onion is softened, but not coloured, stirring occasionally. Add the leek and cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
  2. Pour over the white wine and 100ml of the water. Dissolve the stock cube in the pan by squishing it with a wooden spoon. Add in the mushrooms. Keep simmering on a high heat and stir constantly until the liquid has reduced by about half, then remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Strip off the skin from the chicken and tear the meat off the bones and into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a large bowl. Cut the ham into strips about 1.5cm wide and add them to the bowl. Sprinkle the flour on top and toss lightly together.
  4. Add the onion and stock mixture, the rest of the water and the crème fraiche. Season with lots of freshly ground black pepper and stir all the ingredients together until just combined. Spoon into a 1.5-litre pie dish. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/390°F.
  5. Pile the filo sheets on the work surface, one on top of the other, and divide into 9 rectangles, cutting through all the layers. Put the oil into a small bowl.
  6. One at a time, brush each pastry rectangle lightly with a little oil and very loosely scrunch it up. You’ll need to just dip the tip of the pastry brush in the oil to make sure the oil lasts for all the pastry. Place the scrunched-up filo on top of the filling, putting the pieces close together until the surface of the pie is completely covered.
  7. Bake the pie for 30–35 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Serve with some green vegetables or eat on its own.