To save time use pre-rolled shortcrust pastry. Ensure you don’t roll it out too thinly and if you like a bit of added flavour, chop up some fresh thyme and sage and gently roll into the pastry.
Start by combining the chopped onions, leeks, garlic, sage, salt & pepper to a generous glug of olive oil and cook on a medium heat for 4/5 minutes until they start the soften. Add in the spinach and chicken style pieces along with the chopped, fresh thyme. Be sure to stir thoroughly ensuring nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan and cook on a medium to low heat for 10 minutes whilst you make the cheese sauce.
For the cheese sauce –
Start by melting the butter on a low heat in a separate pan. Once melted add in two tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together in a paste. Next add in the dijon and season. Be generous with the white pepper and cook for a minute or two, again not allowing it to stick to the bottom of the pan. Gradually begin to add in the milk, whisking the flour mixture until it turns into a thick, smooth paste and continue to cook for a few minutes. Next add in the vegetable stock whilst continuing to stir the mixture. You can turn the heat up slightly before adding your grated veggie cheese allowing it to melt into the mixture. Stir or whisk until smooth.Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
Once both the pie filling and cheesy sauce are tasting good combine them and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Cut you rolled pastry to size and lay some out across the bottom of your pie dish (if it’s not a non-stick dish add a layer of butter to the bottom and sides first) and add the filling. Be as generous as the dish allows then lay the pastry lid you’ve cut over the top ensuring it reaches the edges and meets with the bottom layer of pastry. Coat the edges of the bottom layer of pastry with egg wash, then with your fingers and thumb push the pastry lid and bottom layer together. You can alternatively use the back of a fork. Ensure you coat the top of the pie in whisked egg and don’t forget to make a hole in the middle of the pie. This allows the steam to escape and helps cook and crispen your pie lid.
Cook on 190 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes and take out once golden.
Serve immediately. Accompaniments are whatever you fancy; Roast potatoes, mash, peas, mushy peas, gravy…crispy shallots and greens are a definite favourite.