Deep-filled Christmas layer pie with chicken, stuffing and cranberry

For a tasty festive meal try Mary Cadogan's splendid pie, which tastes as good as it looks
By Mary Cadogan
Deep-filled Christmas layer pie with chicken, stuffing and cranberry
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 1.25 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes plus cooling
  • Effort: medium



  • 25 g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onions, finely chopped
  • 500 g quality pork sausage meat
  • 1 lemons, grated zest
  • 175 g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 75 g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped
  • 50 g chestnuts, canned or vacuum, chopped
  • 1 handfuls parsley, chopped
  • 6 sprig thyme, stripped from stems
  • 125 g cranberries
  • 1 pinches black pepper
  • 500 g boneless chicken breasts
  • 500 g pre-made shortcrust pastry
  • 1 eggs, beaten


1. Preheat the oven to 190?C/gas 5. Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and fry for a couple of minutes, until softened. 2. Tip the sausage meat, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, apricots, chestnuts, parsley, thyme and cranberries into a large bowl. Add the onion, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and mix well (mixing with your hands is the best way). 3. Cut each chicken breast into three fillets lengthwise, season on all sides with salt and freshly ground pepper, then add to the same pan you fried the onions in, and fry for 6-8 minutes, turning once until golden. 4. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry and line a 20-23cm deep tart tin. Spoon in half the cranberry mixture and spread over the base. Fit the chicken pieces over the top and cover with the rest of the cranberry mixture. Press down lightly. 5. Roll out the remaining pastry. Brush the edges of the pie with beaten egg, and cover with the lid. Press the edges to seal and trim off excess pastry. Brush the top of the pie with egg, roll out the trimmings and stamp out holly leaves. Decorate the top of the pie, and brush again with egg. 6. Set the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove and leave to cool completely. 7. Cut into thick slices and serve with pickles, coleslaw, red cabbage and potato salad.

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