Celebrating one of the country’s most-loved foods in all its glorious forms, British Pie Week runs from 2 to 8 March. In Bristol, we're blessed with an excellent choice of restaurants for when you're craving a proper good pie, especially as hometown of the award-winning Pieminister.

Known for playful pie puns and inventive fillings, they’ve been perfecting their pastry dishes since setting up shop in 2003, having now spread the pie love to locations across the country. You can still dine at the original restaurant in Stokes Croft, as well as in Broad Quay and St Nick’s Market.

Pieminister pie and sides

Image - Pieminister

As part of their British Pie Week celebrations, Pieminister has kindly shared the recipe below so you can recreate one of their pies at home. This version of The Free Ranger differs slightly to the one served in their restaurants but is just as delicious and makes a scrumptious springtime supper.

Jump to: Celebrate British Pie Week at Pieminister  

The Free Ranger: chicken, cider and leek pie

Lying on the grass at the Orchard Pig cider orchards in Somerset, watching the blossoms blow down on a gentle spring breeze, brings a great feeling of wellness. A waft of this pie’s big, deep, homely aromas gives the same feeling.

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 free-range British chicken, about 1.5kg
1 carrot, peeled and cut into quarters
2 celery sticks, cut into quarters
2 onions, cut in half
1 whole bulb of garlic, top sliced off
6 sprigs of tarragon
A large knob of butter
3 chunky leeks, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced
200ml dry or medium cider, preferably Orchard Pig
2 tbsp plain flour
150ml single or whipping cream
grated zest of ½ lemon
3 tbsp chopped chives
660g of shortcrust pastry
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
375g puff pastry
Sea salt and black pepper

Method

Put the chicken in a large pot with the carrot, celery, ½ an onion, the garlic bulb, 2 of the tarragon sprigs and a little salt. Add enough water to almost cover the chicken. Cover the pan, bring to a simmer and cook very gently for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Leave until cool enough to handle, then remove the chicken from the pot. Strain the chicken stock into a clean pan (discard all the vegetables except the garlic) and boil until reduced by half – the flavour should become concentrated. Meanwhile, take the skin off the chicken and discard. Tear the meat into shreds.

The Free Ranger recipe - pie ready to go in oven

Image - Pieminister

Cut the rest of the onions into medium dice. Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the leeks and cook until softened. Pour in the cider and simmer until reduced by about half. Stir in the flour, cook for a few seconds, then add 400ml of the hot chicken stock, plus the cream and the lemon zest. Bring to a simmer – the mixture should have a nice, creamy pouring consistency. Add a little more of the hot stock if necessary.

Chop the remaining tarragon and add to the sauce, then remove from the heat. Squeeze in the flesh from the garlic bulb and stir in the chives and chicken. Season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Roll out the shortcrust pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm thick and use to line a large ovenproof dish, such as a baking tin or lasagne dish. Fill with the chicken mixture and then brush the pastry edges with a little beaten egg.

Roll out the rough puff pastry to about 3mm thick and use to cover the pie, trimming off the excess and pressing the edges together to seal. Brush with egg glaze and make a couple of small holes in the centre of the pie to let out steam. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. This pie is great served with roast potatoes and spring greens.

Find more pie recipes for every season and every occasion in the Pieminister cookbook.

The Free Ranger pie - Pieminister recipe

Image - Pieminister

Celebrate British Pie Week at Pieminister

Pies mean prizes at Pieminister during Pie Week! Buy a pie in their restaurants or online shop from 2 to 8 March and you'll receive a scratch card, which could win you goodies like a free side, pie merch or even a whole year's supply of pie meals.  

Check out these great offers on pie elsewhere too:

  • The Grain Barge: Enjoy a free Bristol Beer Factory pint when you order one of The Grain Barge’s delicious pies, every Wednesday between 6-9pm.
  • Racks Bar and Kitchen: Join Racks for ‘Pie 1, get 1 free’ on Wednesdays from 5pm – perfect for a midweek pie date.  
Read next: Where to find the best traditional British food in Bristol  

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