Chicken Pie for Lurpak

I have been asked many times to name the ingredient I cannot live without. The answer has always been the same: butter. Fat makes things taste good and we all know it. Crumpets oozing with butter that dribbles down your chin with every bite; a roast chicken smothered and crisped and dipped in the buttery pan juices; a fresh hot paratha smeared generously with ghee. You get the idea.

As a blogger you get approached by a lot of people wanting you to help them promote things;  e-mails ping into the inbox with the opening line, “I think this may be of interest to your readers.” This one was different though. For a start they actually wanted me to go and cook something which, you know, I’m quite keen on doing and secondly, well, I really love butter don’t I. Would I come and make a pie for the new Lurpak ad campaign? Damn right I would.

And so I found myself at a studio in Shoreditch one sunny afternoon cooking up a chicken and fennel pie. There was also a home economist there who, thankfully, was very entertaining. I usually can’t stand sharing a kitchen with anyone. We made two pies, just to make sure that they could capture ‘the shot’. The idea was to make the pie look as ‘epic’ as possible. It had to be a beast – a tall, proud, epic beast. This was where the home economist came in, employed as she is to make food look ‘right’ for ads and mags and books etc.

The result was a shiny domed beauty; a steaming, puffy, bubbling pot of meat and pastry. I wanted to eat it but of course, couldn’t. It was whisked away to be lit and snapped and lit and snapped again. It was a whole new world to me, this advertising business. The main thing I learned is that there is a huge amount of hanging around. All in all though, a fun day and an experience I’d definitely repeat. They also asked me to come in for a casting for the TV ad, but sadly I couldn’t make the date, being as I was on my way to Lisbon.

In the end, that perfect shot was achieved and it was time for me to go home and for Jeanne to start baking her cupcakes. The ad campaign is featured on billboards around the country – I’ve already seen it in Old Street and last night spotted one on my own turf in Peckham! It’s rather nice to see my little pie all big and out there on its own in the city, doing its best to encourage people to cook and use more butter. Now that’s a message I can really get behind.

Chicken and Fennel Pie

(fills an 18-20cm pie dish)

1 free-range chicken, cooked (I used a roast chicken but you could use cooked chicken pieces if you don’t want to roast one).
2 bulbs fennel, tops, bottoms and core removed and finely sliced
1/2 large onion, sliced
4 rasher smoked bacon, diced
1 large leek, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small handful of chopped parsley
Splash of white wine
A dollop of wholegrain mustard (optional)
Oil, for cooking

350 – 400ml bechamel or white sauce (bought or home made)

For the pastry

The pastry is puff but I prefer shortcrust so here’s my recipe. Just use whichever you prefer.

100g Lurpak, at room temperature
220g plain flour (not strong white bread flour)
A large pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten

Prepare the pastry by sieving the flour and salt into a large bowl. Cut the softened butter into cubes and add it to the bowl. Using a knife, start cutting the butter into the flour until it is fairly well mixed. You can now use your hands to start rubbing the butter into the flour – do this as lightly as possible. If you try to squidge the butter between your fingers too much the pastry will become tough. When it resembles fine crumbs, get some cold water (the colder the better) and add a tablespoon at a time, cutting it in with the knife each time, until it starts to come together. When it starts to form large lumps, use your hands to bring it together into a ball. It should leave the bowl clean. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and add the bacon to it. Once the bacon is cooked add the leeks, garlic, fennel and onion (plus the wine if using) and cook on a very low heat with the lid on for around 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200C.

To assemble the pie divide the pastry into two portions – one portion should be two thirds of the total amount and this will be the base and sides of the pie. The remaining pastry will form the lid. Roll out the base pastry into a circle shape on a lightly floured surface. The shape will need to be larger than your dish as it needs to form the sides of the pie also. Carefully lower this into the dish. Roll out the lid and set aside.

Mix the chicken, fennel mixture, mustard (if using), parsley and bechamel together. Take care when adding the bechamel. Add a little at a time to get an idea of how much you will need. Season the mixture with salt and pepper then fill the pie and top with the lid. You want the lid to overlap the sides of the pie dish. Crimp it down to make sure it is sealed. Cut a cross in the top with a knife and brush with the beaten egg.

Bake for 20-30 minutes at 200C until golden brown.

The other bloggers involved were Jeanne, who made these cupcakes and Mary-Rose, who made a roast chicken.

The photos above are used with the kind permission of Wieden and Kennedy and thanks to the whole team who were nothing but a pleasure to work with.

Category: Pies | Tags: , , , , 60 comments »

60 Responses to “Chicken Pie for Lurpak”

  1. Douglas

    sterling work, Helen. I do hope they paid you something for your not inconsiderable time and effort.

  2. them apples

    I was transfixed by that pie whilst parked for far too long at a set of traffic lights this morning.

    I thought it was a small one, in a ramekin, which got me thinking about making steak and kidney pie, a couple of small ones for the kids – the novelty of having a whole pie each might divert their attention away from the kidneys…

    I also appear to have returned from the shop with two blocks of Lurpak butter. I thought I was impervious to advertising, but apparently not *sigh*

    Well done – the advert is great, and what an experience!

  3. Lizzie

    I’m really gutted I had to turn this down. I hope the caterers were up to the job that day!

  4. Helen

    Douglas – Thank you! And yes, they did pay me.

    them apples – Thanks for your comment. I definitely think you should try and make those pies for your kids – get them started on the kidneys early I say!

    Lizzie – the home economist made your lemon meringue pie.

  5. Niamh

    I saw your pie! It looks scrumptious. Nice work and an interesting day.

  6. Sophie

    Stunning looking pie! I’ll be looking out for it hitting a billboard around Oxford sometime soon

  7. Salty

    Helen, the pie looks fantastic – really homely and inviting. Saw it in giant billboard form on Old Street. K

  8. Greedy Diva

    I want that kitchen!

  9. Fiona Beckett

    That is an AWESOME pie. Not only a macaroni cheese queen but a pie queen too . . .

  10. Jules

    I’ve seen these adverts around and until now didn’t realise it was by fellow food bloggers. Fantastic looking pie & and a campaign I wholeheartly agree with!

  11. Lizzie

    D’oh! I meant the caterers hired to feed you & the crew, since you couldn’t eat the big beautiful pie. I made a right bodge of that last comment.

  12. Helen

    Niamh – thank you!

    Sophie – Hope so! I’m not sure if it’s in all cities or what but I expect so.

    Salty – Thank you! I saw it there that evening too.

    Greedy Diva – Oh my God you wouldn’t believe that place. The whole room was white and MASSIVE. It was like someone’s reeeeeally plush apartment or something. I wouldn’t be able to live there though – it would be dirty in five minutes.

    Fiona Beckett – Why thank you kind lady.

    Jules – I know. Butter – what’s not to love.

    Lizzie – Ha ha! I was well confused I have to say. Caterers? Does she mean home economist or what? Anyway, yes, they did have caterers and bloody good job too. Can you imagine the torture of not being able to eat the pie?!

  13. Linda (aka goodshoeday)

    Wow thats your pie – cool – I saw it at Holborn tube recently and stood there drooling. You are becoming rather a pie expert with this and the wonderful Christmas pork pie. A pie shop next perhaps or a book “The Girls Guide to Pies” ;)

  14. Jan

    A stonkingly good pie. You should be very proud :)

  15. gastrogeek

    LOVE that pie! i walk past the 50 foot version of it every day -spectacular stuff

  16. Sarah, Maison Cupcake

    Lovely looking pie, you have Jeanne to thank for me tweeting a twitpic of the billboard the other day as she had asked on Cook Sister for someone to send her a picture if they saw her cupcakes. Sadly, the two occasions I’ve seen them I have been driving but lucky for you I was on foot when I saw the chicken pie and twittered it right over to you.

    Sounds like a brilliant experience to see the photoshoot and everything coming together.

  17. Steve Fagg

    It’s made it to Cambridge: there’s a lovely big one on Mill Road, really eye-catching. I’m already a big Lurpak fan anyway but I’m sure it’s selling lots of butter!

  18. Helen

    Linda – I have a hilarious image in my mind of you, standing in the tube station, transfixed by a pie, with drool running down your face.

    Jan – Thank you, I am!

    Gastrogeek – Cheer m’dear! A 50 foot pie. It’s like a beautiful dream.

    Sarah – Yes! Thank you very much for that. Very thoughtful of you.

    Steve – Yay! The pie it loves to travel.

  19. Mathilde's Cuisine

    WAOUH, such a fantastic experience, I’m so happy for you! I just cooked a pie from Bray Cottage and I’m now in a Pie Mood. I will definitely make yours very very soon

  20. deeba

    GORGEOUS … what a fantastic experience, and well done indeed! What a handsome pie that it! Butter does make everything bettah !!

  21. mei

    congrats, i saw the huge billboard at old street and not only was thinking that it looked droolingly good, but also i love the message about getting people to cook and not just buy ready-made or takeaway.

    and also to use lots of butter. good message for everyone:)

    well done!

  22. Anne

    My hubby is planning to make this pie (he’s going through a phase of wanting to cook)! There’s a huge billboard of it in New Cross just after New Cross Gate station (I seem to recall you’re near New Cross?)
    Congrats on the pie – it looks fabulous

  23. Helen

    Mathilde – Thank you. I think this is the perfect weather. Ultimate comfort food.

    deeba – Oh indeed it does. EVERYTHING!

    Mei – Thank you. Yeah exactly, I really felt passionate about this one. Butter is one of the greatest things on Earth. Fact.

    Anne – A man going through a phase of wanting to cook should not be discouraged! I am very near New Cross – in Peckham.

  24. chris parkman

    I really love the lurpak campaign, i think they really ‘get’ what good food is, but this pie is a bit annoying. that is i find it very disingenuous. number 1 this is not a pie. a pie has pastry on the bottom and sides. no 2 and this is the bit that irks, this pie uses puff pastry which, i’m assuming, was bought in, and has no butter in.

  25. Helen

    Chris – I agree. The pastry was bought in yes. I didn’t have any say in this as when I arrived, the home economist had bought the pastry already. They thought it would look better as it would puff up. As you can see in my pie recipe above – I used shortcrust and lined the bottom and sides but they changed this on the day. This is the thing with advertising of course, they just want it to look the part so they can get ‘the shot’. I hear you on the point about it being disingenuous, but then all advertising is, let’s face it. Puff pastry does of course have butter in it, but wasn’t made by me. I didn’t have any choice about that I’m afraid.

  26. Jones

    been seeing that pie everywhere the last few days and just read this, congratulations! You must be very proud, it looks brilliant, I’ve stood opposite the poster at a few tube stations just staring at it in a kind of trance.

  27. shayma

    helen, congrats, that pie IS epic. and your own recipe, that is so fabulous. it looks gorgeous. congrats, again. x shayma

  28. Y

    Epic is the right word. Amazing as well. I must confess I thought it was a massive cupcake when I first saw it. But pie is much much better. Love Lurpak butter too.

  29. margaret

    congratulations, what a fantastic looking pie! Well done.

    By the way I agree with you about the butter, you can’t beat the taste!

  30. Helen

    Jones – Another trance eh?! All I imagining is loads of people standing around in tube stations in some kind of catatonic state.

    Shayma – Thanks Shayma!

    Y – Ha ha! A massive, puffy cupcake.

    Margaret – Thank you! Yep, nothing like it. No margarine in this house. No siree.

  31. nina

    We are still dreaming of companies asking us to do something…in SA blogging is still a hobby and is not taken seriously at all. We are having our first bloggers conference so hopefully it will all change soon!!! The chicken ie is a delight!!!

  32. aforkfulofspaghetti

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

    Huge congrats, Helen – you must be hugely chuffed, and rightly so!

  33. Becky-Girl Interrupted Eating

    It’s everywhere around the East Midlands , mkaing me hungry. Sure it will encourage plenty of people to make a pie. Truly Irisistable

  34. The Graphic Foodie

    What a pie! I would love to see this looming over me on a billboard! I was gutted I was unable to take part on this as I was away. The photoshoot must have been fun too.

    Nice one :)

  35. Helen

    Nina – It was fun and yes it is nice to be approached by people but of course the main thing is that you are doing what you love and doing it well! Just keep going with your blog and I’m sure it will reward you. The best thing about blogging for me is meeting so many new people who are just as obsessed with grub as I am. I never could have anticipated it.

    Aforkfulofspaghetti – Thank you! Yes I am :)

    Becky – Pesky pie! Stalking you and making you hungry.

    The Graphic Foodie – It’s so annoying when you can’t make something isn’t it? I know Lizzie was due to make a lemon meringue pie too.

  36. Jeanne @ Cooksister!

    Aaaah, your lovely chicken pie! It was such a fun day, even with all the gratuitous hanging about, wasn’t it? And it is fab going poster-spotting all over greater London :) We were in the car last night on the A13 driving home from Gatwick when I spotted my first one – I shrieked like a banshee ;-) A friend also texted me to say there’s one at London Bridge station & I snapped one near my local shopping centre today – way cool!

  37. ginandcrumpets

    I have seen that pie! And the fairy cakes, too. The chicken and fennel combination sounds like heaven.

  38. An American in London

    What an amazing experience, paid or not. I pass by Old Street every day on my commute, so I’ll be sure to pay more attention this evening on my way home. Congrats!

  39. Tweets that mention Chicken Pie for Lurpak — Food Stories --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FoodStories, FoodStories, Cian, sophiemostly, chilliupnorth and others. chilliupnorth said: RT @FoodStories: New blog post: the chicken pie I made for the new Lurpak ad campaign […]

  40. Andrew Webb

    Yay, looks a stunning pie.

    I actually think Lurpak do a good job of promoting butter as a cooking ingredient rather than just the mortar between sandwich bread and filling.

    Were they good people to work with?


  41. Wild Boar

    Ooo I saw that ad yesterday and was discussing with the wife exactly what kinda pie it was. Now we know *nods sagely* well done on it, looks amazing!

  42. foodurchin

    Have caught some of the comments of twitter with peeps saying “ooh I’ve seen your pie” and I’ve been wondering what the hell they were on about.

    Now it all makes sense, this is fantastic, well done on getting a great pie and yourself in the limelight!

  43. Helen

    Jeanne – It was a very fun day. I can also tell you that your cupcakes are larger than life at the South Side of Blackfriars Bridge :)

    ginandcrumpets – and the pie has seen you…

    An American in London – thank you kindly!

    Andrew – Yeah I agree. They were really genuinely lovely and that’s the troof, the whole troof and nuffin but the troof.

    Wild Boar – So now you know! Thank you for the sage nod.

    foodurchin – I bet you were well confused there for a bit then. What is everyone going on about seeing a pie around town for?

  44. Maninas

    Well done! The pie looks incredibly good!

  45. Johanna GGG

    congratulations on being involved in a great advert – your pie looks marvellous

  46. Jonathan

    Gobsmacking stuff. Helen this is incredible. I’m utterly bowled over. In the words of Alan Patridge “butter my ass”.

  47. The London Foodie

    I saw your poster today near Old Street on the way to work, I was sooo proud, it looks fantastic!

  48. Helen

    Maninas – Thank you!

    Johanna GGG – Thank you kindly GGG

    Jonathan – Brilliant. “Butter my ass.” Classic AP.

    The London Foodie – Awesome, thanks for taking the time to let me know.

  49. relishfood

    Divine pie Helen – and it has obviously inspired many to go home and cook one for their loved ones – heart shaped pies for Valentine’s. BTW – I think it’s better without the top and sides made from pastry – who needs all that extra fat?

  50. Caitlin

    Hello Helen,

    I am absolutely stunned by this. Ok, so tonight I had a quick Pho on St.John’s street with Vinoteca’s sous chef/my friend Almay who is leaving London on Tuesday (very sad). After dinner we cycled home together from St.John to Victoria Park, which means we passed 2 of your pies in a matter of 10 minutes! Almay reads a lot of blogs, and told me that it was YOUR pie! As soon as I got in the door I checked it out, and I am so impressed! Well done! Of all the PR pitches and all the ways to get blogger promoting a brand, this has to be one of the best! Congrats, your pie looks seriously sexy, and I imagine has caused some car accidents!

    Thank you for replacing the Activia ad, how boring!


  51. joey

    Congratulations! Your pie definitely deserves to be on a billboard!

  52. BSG

    Dear Helen,
    Your gargantuan pie is magnificent and seems to have galvanised a whole section of my male friends into culinary action. For example, just last night, my brother (who normally takes more of a supporting role in the kitchen) excitedly announced that he was making a pie ‘like the amazing lurpak one’ for a dinner party.
    Super cool. Congratulations!

  53. Krista

    Honestly, super cool. Congrats, Helen. Will be on the lookout for the ad on my way into work tomorrow!

  54. Kerri

    Very impressive! Your pie looks brilliant and has inspired me to make one tonight!

  55. Dan (Essex Eating)

    I saw your pie on a poster staring back at me in Bristol last weekend hahaha. Great work Helen! – and what a superb looking kitchen you got to cook in.

  56. Kavey

    Wow, how fantastic to have your pie on billboards and all! Much kudos. It is a beautiful pie!

  57. Emma

    I like that they use dollop as a measurement. Excellant recipe thanks for sharing..

  58. EcoHustler

    Lurpak Go Home

  59. Isabel

    I made this again (for like the 10th time this year). It’s becoming a house favourite!

  60. Helen


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