Every week is pie week in Northern Soul‘s house but we applaud the thinking behind the official British Pie Week. To mark the occasion (it’s happening now folks), here is a mouth-watering recipe from Manchester chef Olivia Casson and Cheshire company Essential Cuisine.

My Hearty Northern Smoked Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Pie

Serves 4


2 tbsp olive oil
2 smoked chicken breasts (skin off, ripped into fork-sized pieces)
1 large leek (washed and diced)
200 ml white wine
100 ml water
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig
1 litre milk
90g flour
90g butter
Cayenne pinch
30g cheddar (grated)
10g Parmesan (grated)
22g Essential Cuisine chicken stock powder
Large sprig of tarragon, picked and chopped
300g mushrooms (Use any mushrooms you like. I tend to use an equal mix of chestnut, button and shiitake)
1 garlic clove, crushed
325g puff pastry
2 eggs


  • PieIn a pan, cook mushrooms in olive oil, using garlic and thyme. Add leeks and sweat for 2 minutes.
  • Add white wine, Essential Cuisine chicken stock powder, water and bay leaf to a pan on a high heat and reduce liquid by half.
  • When liquid is reduced add milk and heat to just under boiling creating a milky liquor.
  • Place the flour, butter and cayenne pepper into a medium saucepan and place it over a gentle heat, stirring until the butter and flour have emulsified (about 2 minutes).
  • Gradually, a little at a time, add the milky liquor to the roux (butter and flour mix) and stir constantly until smooth and thickened.
  • Take off the heat and stir in the grated cheese and chicken.
  • Check seasoning and place into pie dish(es).
  • Next, to make the lid or lids, roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface. Cut out slightly bigger than your pie dish(es).
  • Dampen the edge of the dish with water and press the strip of pastry around the rim. Dampen the strip and carefully lift the pastry lid over the top.
  • Press it firmly over the edge to get a good seal all round, then trim using a knife.
  • Brush the surface of the pie with beaten egg.
  • Bake for 15 minutes at 210C until the pastry is cooked, golden and puffed up.

By Olivia Casson


This recipe was developed by executive chef and food consultant Olivia Casson for Essential Cuisine.

Olivia Casson is a restaurant consultant and previously an executive chef at a number of Manchester’s top rated restaurants. She has also worked in Australia and trained at the famous Paul Heathcote’s Restaurant in the 90s.

Essential Cuisine have been crafting premium, British-made cooking stocks and the finest gravies for more than 20 years. Hailing from Winsford in Cheshire, they have been awarded eight Gold Star Great Taste Awards to date.