Donovans Old-fashioned Chicken Pie

Celebrating 23 years of tradition and a Donovans classic! We hope you enjoy cooking our much loved Old-fashioned Chicken Pie at home for your loved ones.

Makes 8 serves. Any left over pie mixture is delicious served with pasta the next day!

You will need x 8 individual pie dishes with a 1.5 cup capacity. At Donovans we use Lion’s Head Terrine containers (410ml) – to serve the pies in. You can find these at Chef’s Hat in South Melbourne or Essential Ingredient at Prahran Market.



For the Chicken Poaching:
1 chicken, size 1.8kg – use organic or free range
4 tarragon sprigs
½ lemon

Mirepoix for Poaching Liquid:
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 medium carrot, large dice
1 brown onion, peeled and large dice
2 celery sticks, chopped into 2cm lengths
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 litres good quality chicken stock – store bought is fine

For the Vegetable Garnish for the Pie:
32 button mushrooms, washed
8 asparagus spears – cut into 2cm lengths
8 baby carrots, cut in half
8 baby turnips, cut in half

For the Velouté Sauce:
300g plain flour
300g butter, unsalted
2 litres chicken stock that you have reduced, re-heated
2 litres pouring cream
4 lemons, juiced
1 bunch of tarragon leaves, finely chopped

For the Puff Pastry Lids:
Carême Puff Pastry sheets (see here for stockists)
1 whole egg, whisked


Poaching the Chicken:

Stuff the chicken with the lemon and tarragon.

Place into a large pot and add the mirepoix and fill the pot with chicken stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, make sure the chicken is fully submerged. Remove chicken with a large spoon, set aside and allow to cool.

Strain the stock through a fine strainer, then place back on the stove and reduce by half. You need to ensure you have 2 litres for this recipe. Reserve reduced chicken stock.

When the chicken is cool enough to touch, set yourself up with a large tray. Carefully pull away the breast meat and leg meat and tear into large chunks. Reserve refrigerated.

The Vegetables:

While the chicken stock is reducing, prepare your vegetables. Sauté the mushrooms off in a pan with a little bit of butter and oil until caramelised. Blanch the asparagus for 30 seconds in boiling water then cool immediately. Blanch the carrots and turnips for 4 minutes in boiling water then cool immediately. Reserve refrigerated.

The Velouté Sauce:

In a large pot, melt the butter fully then add the flour to make a blonde roux.

Stir with a wooden spoon to ensure the roux does not stick or brown on the base of the pot. Add the hot reduced chicken stock to the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

Add the cream, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Take the velouté off the heat and season with lemon and salt. Taste and adjust seasoning if required, then strain through a fine strainer. Now add the chopped tarragon and you are ready to go. The sauce should be creamy and thick like a custard and pale white in colour and it should have an even balance of lemon and tarragon to contrast the cream.

Cooking the Puff Pastry Lids:

Pre-heat your oven to 190°C. You will need to cut out rounds slightly larger than the tops of the dishes. Take a baking tray and line it with baking paper. Place the puff pastry rounds onto the paper – making sure they don’t touch.

Brush the lids with the whisked egg white.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the puff has risen and is a deep golden brown. Take out of oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Take some clean scissors and cut the interior base out of each lid, leaving a 2cm edge

This will enable you to snugly fit the puff lid on the mould so that it doesn’t fall off

Finishing the Pies:

Re-heat your puff lids in a moderate oven.

Line up your individual pie dishes and distribute the vegetables evenly in each bowl.

Heat the sauce and add the chicken meat that you picked – mix it all in. Bring to a simmer and then turn off the heat.

Using a ladle, scoop out the pie mix and evenly distribute into the bowls. Use it all up and if there is some left, save it for a pasta for the next day!

Place the cooked puff lids on top of the pie dish and you are ready to take to the table.

To serve, place the pastry lid up-side-down onto a serving plate, creating a puff pastry bowl. Spoon the chicken pie mix into the puff pastry bowl. (see photo above to see how we serve the Chicken Pie at Donovans).