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Pie is one of my all-time favourite comfort food dinners. In my opinion, there are two problems with supermarket ready made pies. They can be really expensive, and pretty unhealthy. Before tackling my debt, I had it in my head that making a pie was a massive ordeal, faffing about with homemade pastry and slow-cooking fillings for hours, and this is all before even baking the actual pie. When I finally started paying off my debt and cutting my grocery budget, I got over my pie-making aversion. I finally found a way to make it that is quick, easy, healthy and cheap.
By assembling an easy filling, placing it in a casserole dish and topping with shop-bought pastry, I make pie on a budget but without the headache of several hours of work. I have found that doing it this way keeps pie budget friendly without having to put in a lot of effort. And the best bit is, cutting out the pastry base cuts calories and makes it a lot healthier. Filling it with veg helps, too. My budget friendly chicken and bacon pie hits the spot and with a bit of organisation, it’s easy as pie (couldn’t help myself with that one!).
This recipe makes ten large portions of chicken and bacon pie and comes in at £12.64 for the entire recipe, making it £1.27 per portion. It takes 2 and a half hours to make. However, most of this time is spent waiting on the chicken to roast. So it’s actually quite an easy bulk cook to pull together once you’ve got your chickens in the oven. It can be cooled and frozen once prepared, ready to be put into the oven on a chilly day when you just want to put your feet up and have a comforting dinner with minimal effort.
I usually serve mine with heaps of pan-fried vegetables on the side, with a pile of wedges or a baked potato. But this pie can hold it’s own without a side, as it’s packed full of leeks and mushrooms.
The recipe is coming up, or you can continue to scroll to download the recipe card.
Two whole chickens
500g leeks, finely sliced
600g mushrooms, finely sliced
300g smoked bacon, finely sliced
A pint and a half of semi-skimmed milk
75g plain flour
500g ready rolled puff pastry
Salt and pepper to taste, plus a few sprays of oil
Start by roasting the chickens in a roasting tray at 180c for around one to one and a half hours. If you can, do this a little in advance of making the pie, to allow the chicken to cool. Once the cooked chickens have cooled, shred up the meat and put aside, discarding the skin and bones.
In a large pan, spray some oil and add the bacon and fry until cooked. Then add the leeks and fry until they have softened, before adding the mushrooms. Let the mixture cook for another ten minutes.
While the bacon, leek and mushroom mix is cooking, prepare your sauce. Melt the butter in a separate pan on a medium heat. Then stir in the flour, whisking as you do, until the butter and flour become a paste. Then add the milk slowly, continuing to whisk the mixture to get rid of any lumps. When all of the milk is added, continue to whisk until it starts to thicken to a double cream-like consistency. Once the sauce has thickened, add salt and pepper to taste, and remove the sauce from the heat.
To the bacon, leek and mushroom mix, add in the shredded chicken and continue to cook until it has warmed through (this should only take a few minutes). Then add the sauce to the mix, and give everything a good stir until the sauce is evenly distributed. Check at this stage if you need to add a little more salt and pepper. And that’s the pie filling done.
Spoon the pie filling into oven roasting dishes. The ones I use are found here. They are great for stacking in the freezer as they come with durable lids which prevent dents (plus they are oven, freezer and microwaveable friendly, too).
Cut enough pastry to top the pie with and place on top of the pie filling. Pierce a few holes in the pastry to let any steam out. If you are freezing some of your pies, wrap them up and freeze them at this stage, and then follow the next instructions as normal when ready to cook.
When the pie is ready to be cooked, beat an egg and use it to brush the pastry with. Bake in the oven at 180c until the filling is cooked through, and the puff pastry is flaky and golden on top.
So that’s my budget friendly chicken and bacon pie recipe. Let me know in the comments below how you got on with making this recipe, or if it’s your first time reading, tell me what your favourite pie filling is 🙂