Paul Flynn: This chicken pie is fabulous and faff-free

Three pies ... Okay, one’s a crumble, but it is a deliciously comforting winter warmer

In my childhood home we were the guinea pigs for every 1970s food fad going. Dried potato Smash (just add water), Angel Delight, Findus Crispy Pancakes and – my lingering memory – Fray Bentos steak and kidney pies. I never minded them, although the wet blanket that passed for a crust never resembled a crisp golden topping. Despite this, I am still a massive fan of pies in all shapes and sizes.

Some years ago my wife, Máire, and I flew over to the UK to visit Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant for lunch. I know: how very Celtic Tiger of us. So, after some snail porridge, sound of the sea, and innumerable other courses including the final and most impressive one, “the wallet buster”, we exited onto the street, sweating, with some hours to kill before the flight home.

We passed the Hind’s Head, Blumenthal’s other premises in the village of Bray, in Berkshire. It is a Michelin-starred pub with a reputation for pioneering British food. I had to go in. I ate the steak and kidney pudding and, since I was there, also tucked into a Scotch egg, followed by a treacle tart to keep it company. My wife ate nothing, but looked on with a combination of wonder and disgust. It was a long flight home for all sorts of reasons.

This chicken pie is fabulous. I’ve adapted it from a Greek recipe by buying a pre-roasted chicken – it cuts out a lot of faff. The eggs in the pie are a revelation and the humble, well-softened onion supports the chicken admirably.


I had to stop myself putting chorizo into the peperonata pie. It would work brilliantly, but I wanted to keep it vegetarian. But don’t let me stop you. A little bit in with the peppers would be lovely. I’m also making the mash with olive oil and Parmesan – it’s a lovely change.

Okay, perhaps the sausage crumble isn’t technically a pie, but I wanted to make every recipe different today. Use the largest sausages you can find and that will keep the cooking times accurate.

Recipe: Greek chicken pie

Recipe: Peperonata pie

Recipe: Sausage, sweet potato and red onion crumble