Chicken and yeast extract pie

Preparation time
over 2 hours

Cooking time
1 to 2 hours

Serves 6

By Ravneet Gill
From Saturday Kitchen


For the pastry

  • 400g/14oz strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1½ tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 300g/10½oz unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 130ml/4fl oz ice-cold water
  • 1 free-range egg, beaten, for the egg wash

For the chicken filling

  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 celery stick, cut in half
  • 1 shallot, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 garlic bulb, cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • bunch fresh flatleaf parsley stalks, plus 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
  • 1kg/2lb 4oz chicken thighs, bone in and skin removed
  • 100g/3½oz unsalted butter
  • 100g/3½oz plain flour
  • 100g/3½oz crème fraîche
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp yeast extract (such as Marmite)
  • bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the pastry, mix together the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor. Add the butter and mix to form breadcrumbs either with your fingertips, the paddle attachment or pulsed. Pour in the ice-cold water and mix briefly and quickly into a dough.

  2. Tip the dough out onto a piece of baking paper and use the paper to bring it together as it is sometimes a touch sticky. Wrap the dough in cling film or a fresh sheet of baking paper and flatten into a disc. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm.

  3. Meanwhile, make the chicken filling. Place the carrot, celery, shallot, garlic, bay and parsley stalks in a large saucepan, followed by the chicken thighs and 1 litre/1¾ pint water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Skim off any white scum from the top and simmer for 30–40 minutes or until the chicken is tender (check it with a sharp knife). Check the chicken is cooked through and that the juices run clear with no trace of pink when the thickest part is pierced with a skewer.

  4. Carefully remove the chicken from the liquid and set aside to cool on a plate. Reserve the liquid. Remove the chicken from the bones, discarding the bones, and break the meat up into bite-sized pieces.

  5. Strain the liquid, reserving the clear stock. Discard the vegetables, garlic and herbs.

  6. Make a roux by melting the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and whisk well. Cook over a low heat for 3–4 minutes until it turns to a light blonde colour. Gradually whisk in the stock (there should be approximately 700ml/1¼ pint), making sure to carefully remove any lumps. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and once thickened, add the crème fraîche, mustard, finely chopped parsley and chicken. Add the yeast extract and spring onions and mix well. Season with salt and pepper if preferred. Set aside.

  7. To assemble the pie, lightly dust a work surface with flour. Gently knead the pastry dough, then roll out to an approximately 5–6mm/¼in thickness, creating a 2cm/1in larger round than the 26cm/10½in casserole or pie dish. Slide the pastry round onto a baking tray and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

  8. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

  9. Fill a 26cm/10½in round casserole or ovenproof pie dish with the chicken filling – ideally it shouldn’t be piping hot or it will melt a layer of the pastry. Drape the chilled round of pastry over the dish and tuck the excess pastry down into the dish around the sides. Pinch the pastry every 1–2cm/½-¾in around the edge every 1–2cm/½-¾in to form an attractive finish and to help secure the filling. Brush all over the pastry with the egg wash. Poke a hole in the middle of the pastry lid with the tip of a sharp knife.

  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown all over and the filling is bubbling up a little through the middle. Cut into slices and serve.

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