Friday, November 25, 2005

Old-fashioned Chicken Pies

Many years ago, a woman I worked with used to buy First magazine. She was generous enough to allow me to photocopy any recipes I saw that appealed to me. Some them turned out to be quite good and I am still cooking them. One such recipe is for chicken pot pies. I have loved them since I was a child. Swanson Chicken Pot Pies were my idea of heaven.

The problem with most pot pie recipes is that they make one large pie and involve frozen vegetables. This recipe appealed to me because it makes six individual pies and uses only fresh ingredients. The day after Thanksgiving, I use leftover turkey to make them instead of chicken. As you can see from the date of the magazine, these pot pies have been a holiday tradition in my house for over a decade.

Chicken stock is not something I ordinarily have hanging around the house. Canned broth is fine, but I prefer using ingredients I already have in the house. I substitute chicken bouillon for the stock/broth using a ratio of one cube per cup of water. In this case, I use 2 cubes in 1 3/4 cups water. Ditto for the light cream called for. Since I have Half & Half for my coffee, I use that instead.

I don't ordinarily like recipes that involve a lot of steps and use a lot of bowls and pans. And I will be the first to admit that rolling out pastry for six pies is a royal pain but I just love the buttery crust. They can be made ahead of time, refrigerated and then reheated in the microwave or even frozen and then thawed and reheated. This recipe takes a lot of time and effort but it is one of the very few that I feel is worth the trouble.

Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper.

Old-fashioned Chicken Pies
(Source: First magazine, 2/10/92)

1 lb. boneless chicken breasts
1 3/4 cups chicken stock or canned broth
2 3/4 cups flour
salt & pepper
6 oz. butter, chilled
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3 carrots
1/2 lb. mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup light cream
2 scallions
1 tablepoons chopped fresh parsley
1 egg

Put the chicken breasts in a frying pan with 1/2 cup stock. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and continue simmering, turning once, until chicken is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken, let cool and tear into pieces. Strain broth and reserve.

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cut in 1/4 lb. of the butter and the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Toss in 7 to 8 tablesppons cold water, a tablespoon at a time. When the ingredients begin to clump together, press into a ball, wrap and refrigerate.

Cut carrots in half lengthwise and then into approximately 1/4" slices. Bring to a boil in a large pot of salted water and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Slice mushrooms. In a large saucepan, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in remaining 1/4 cup flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually stir in reserved chicken-cooking liquid, remaining 1 1/4 cups stock and the cream. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute, stirring all the while. Remove from heat, pour off 1 1/2 cups sauce and reserve. Chop scallions, stir chicken, carrots, scallions and parsley into the remaining sauce.

Heat oven to 425F. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Divide the dough into 12 pieces. On a lightly-floured work surface, roll 6 of them and fit into 5" pie pans. Fill with the chicken mixture. Roll remaining dough, top pies and flute edges. Cut vents in the top crusts.

Brush tops lightly with egg mixture. Put pies on a cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Brush tops of pies again with egg mixture after 15 minutes.

Recycle: chicken broth can

Compost: carrot parings, unused portions of scallions and eggshell

1 comment:

Beverly said...

Those pies look so good I'm going to have to make some with the leftover turkey. Happy Holidays :)