Tuesday, February 17, 2015

chicken pot pie

I came home from work early yesterday in anticipation of an ice storm.

Though we have had very little of what one might call a winter, eight hours of snow and ice and sleet brings this part of the world to a standstill because we don’t have the equipment to clean it up and no one can drive on ice. Since it was early and it was cold, I decided to cook. I made Uncle Milty’s Guinness and Chocolate Chili and then I decided to make a chicken pot pie. I looked at several recipes, but found most of them only had a top crust and I wanted as much flaky pastry as I could get. A search led me to Sally’s Baking Addiction. Thanks to her and Michael Ruhlman’s expert advice on how to roast a chicken, I was in business.

I first got the chicken in the oven, following Ruhlman pretty much to the letter.

1 three to four-pound chicken
1 lemon and/or 1 medium onion, quartered
Kosher salt

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about an hour before it goes in the oven and rinse it. Stuff it with the lemon or onion, or both. Salt it and set it on a plate lined with paper towels/absorbent paper. 

Preheat the oven to 450°. Set the oven on convection if that’s an option. Put the chicken in an oven-proof frying pan and slide it into the oven.  After one hour, check the color of the juices. If they run red, return the chicken to the oven and check it again in five to ten minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for fifteen minutes before carving it.

While the bird was in the oven, I made the crust, following Sally’s recipe. The only thing I did differently was I used pork lard instead of vegetable shortening.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
3/4 cup lard (or vegetable shortening), chilled
2/3 cup ice water
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the butter and shortening using a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles coarse meal. You may still see some flecks of butter; that’s okay.

Measure 2/3 cup of water. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 2/3 cup of water (since the ice has melted a bit). Slowly drizzle in the very cold water, stirring with a large spatula after every tablespoon or two of water that you add. Take your time to see how well the dough is coming together and don’t add any more water than you need. Stop adding water when the dough begins to clump.

Roll out the dough on a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Form the dough into a ball and then divide it in half. Flatten each half into a 1-inch thick disc using your hands. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and efrigerate for at least one hour.

While the chicken was cooking and cooling and the pie crust was chilling, I began working on the filling.
1 pound roasted chicken meat, pulled from your earlier endeavor
1 cup sliced carrots (about 2 carrots)
2 cups fresh green beans, cut in one inch segments
2 cups small white potatoes, quartered or sliced.
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 and 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup half-and-half
1 large egg, beaten
In a large saucepan, combine carrots, potatoes, and green beans. Cover them with water and boil for about twelve minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

Cook the butter, onions, and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the onions are translucent and the butter is lightly browning. Whisk in the flour until it makes a bit of a paste and then add the chicken, chicken broth, half-and-half, and salt and pepper. Cook and whisk until no flour lumps remain, then simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture gets pretty thick. This may take eight or ten minutes. You want it to be a very thick gravy. Taste and add more seasonings if you prefer. Remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Roll out one half of the chilled pie dough on a floured surface. Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle twelve inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9-inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Place the chicken mixture on top. Roll out the second half of the dough just as you did the first. Cover the pie and trim the extra overhang off the sides. Seal the edges by crimping with a fork or your fingers. Cut a few small slits in the top crust for steam to escape. Brush the crust and edges with  the beaten egg. Bake for 32 - 38 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. I use a pie crust shield to protect the edges from browning too much too soon. Cool for ten minutes before serving.



Jody Regan Paints! said...

Thanks, Milton. I make good chicken pot pie, but am always looking to improve. I'll let you know how it goes.

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