I haven’t found a new recipe to add to our family dinner menu rotation in a long time. Recently I made a recipe that I was going to make with the butter it called for, but at the last-minute decided to try our usual dairy substitutions. Sometimes these cooking adventures turn out just ok, but this endeavor turned out DELICIOUS.
The recipe is a Chicken and Leek pie recipe from Williams Sonoma. I saw this recipe originally in the Williams Sonoma book, The Weeknight Cook, which I love. I always saw the pretty picture of this dish and then skipped it because the topping looked like puff pastry to me and I figured that butter would be pretty crucial to the dish. (Really I should have just read the recipe.)
One night I decided to stop skipping this recipe and make it mainly for my husband and myself (with butter), but my husband challenged me to give it a go with our Earth Balance Soy Free Spread and rice milk (vanilla is all I had on hand!) I was dubious. I also didn’t realize the chicken was supposed to be cooked and shredded ahead, so we cut raw chicken into small pieces and cooked it in the pan before actually starting the recipe. (I didn’t shred it)
The result was a delicious, creamy dinner that reminded me a LOT of chicken pot pie. It’s flavor was a little different though, without the carrots that usually show up in a pot pie. The topping was not at all like puff pastry but more like a dumpling or biscuit. It was fluffy, browned on top and just a bit moist on the bottom, not at all soggy.
We were amazed, especially because I had used vanilla rice milk, and also really happy to find a creamy dish that was dairy free. We all fought over the leftovers that week. It will definitely be one to make again and again this winter.
If you aren’t too familiar with leeks, they are in the same family as onions and garlic but their flavor is very mild. In the raw state they are very fibrous but if you cut the main bottom section (white and light green tube-shaped part) thinly so they are thin rings, they cook easily and become very soft. So soft my kids didn’t realize there were leeks in the meal. Well they probably did know, because my husband feels compelled to make “leek/leak” puns for hours by putting the leeks tops on things like the faucet and yelling “Kids! The faucet is leaking!” (ahhh Dad jokes!)
So check out the original recipe Here or see my dairy free substitutions below. And if you are worried about your milk substitute, be adventurous! Our vanilla rice milk worked fine!
*I am not affiliated with Williams Sonoma or Earth Balance in any way, nor receiving any compensation from them. Not that I would mind ……
Chicken and Leek Pie
- 4 tablespoons neutral oil like Olive oil or Canola Oil
- 5 tablespoons Butter Substitute -I use Earth Balance Soy Free Spread
- 2 large leeks (or 3 medium) white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken, homemade or purchased
- 1 cup baby peas
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups milk substitute – I used rice milk
Preheat an oven to 375ºF.
In a large ovenproof fry pan over medium-high heat, add 4 tablespoons of oil. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup of the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the wine and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken and peas, and season with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups flour, the baking powder and the 1/2 tsp. salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in 5 tablespoons of butter replacer until the mixture forms coarse crumbs about the size of peas. Add the rice milk (or your substitute) and, using a rubber spatula, stir until evenly moistened. Place heaping spoonfuls of the batter evenly over the chicken filling.
Bake until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.