Chicken Pot Pi
Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 7:24PM
Cameron Blazer in chicken, cooking, food, food, pastry, pi, pi day, pot pie



Chicken Pot Pi © 2010 Cameron Blazer // Cottage Industrialist
Happy Pi Day, friends! What? You don't celebrate 3.14? The day devoted to all things circular, mysterious, and immutable? Hmm. You may not be nerdy enough for this website.

I love pie. But I really love pi. Like, as in, I wrote a poem about it. But I really love that March 14, also known as 3.14, is a chance to indulge in pastry goodness in the name of the great ratio: ∏.

In that spirit, I set about to make a pie worthy of Sunday supper: a chicken pot pie. Now I know at least one person who is so traumatized by the childhood spectre of frozen pot pies with pearl onions and english peas that I can do nothing to remedy her image of the dreaded pot pie. But I didn't grow up with pot pie—my mom never made it fresh or frozen—so I have no ties to the old ways of doing it. As an adult, I have tried many a pot pie--some good, some, well, if you can't say anything nice... I had one a few months ago that featured a light broth studded with edamame and lima beans, and it was fabulous. And another not too long ago sported a thicker bechamel-y sauce chockablock with duck confit and carrots. Also fabulous.

For my version, I wanted to make personal-sized pies. Because who doesn't like tiny food? But I didn't want to go the route of most personal-sized pies I've had: a pie served within a piece of hot crockery. My little boy is pretty clever, but I didn't think it was fair to serve him a  molten piece of ceramic filled with boiling bits of chicken and vegetables. So I used my tiny springform pans (available in my OpenSky shop) to make personal pot pies that could stand on their own.

The Pastry

3/4 c unsalted butter
2 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt 
cold water 

Cut the butter into small pieces. Combine the flour and salt and whisk together.

Using a pastry cutter, combine the butter and flour until the mixture looks like coarse cracker meal.

One tablespoon at a time, add cold water to the mixture until the mixture is ragged but moist.

Turn out onto a board and work until the mixture holds together. Cut into two pieces and shape each into a circle. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight. 

While the pastry is resting, begin the filling.

The Filling

1 lb chicken, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 qt water
1 T peppercorn
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
1 lemon, washed and halved
1 t salt

cheesecloth

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch lacinato kale, roughly chopped (we call it dinosaur kale to get my 3yo to eat it)

2 T flour
2 T milk

2 T parmagianno regianno, shredded

1 egg yolk
1 T water 

Using a small bit of cheesecloth, make a packet (bouquet garni) of the peppercorns, bay leaves, thyme, and parsley.

Wrap each lemon half in cheesecloth to prevent seeds from escaping.

Combine chicken, water, bouquet garni, lemon, and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Turn heat to high and stir frequently until water is simmering and chicken is just cooked through (about 10 minutes). Turn off heat. Remove the bouquet garni and lemon, and discard. Remove and set aside the chicken, using a slotted spoon.

Add the sliced mushrooms and return the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid has been reduced by half.

Turn the heat to low, and add the kale.

Add the flour to the milk, and whisk until well-combined.

Add to the filling mixture and cook until slightly thickened.

Return the chicken to the pot and set aside to cool.

Assemble the pies

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Roll out one of the rounds of pastry to about 1/8" thickness. Using the bottom of the springform as a guide, cut four circles, each roughly 2 inches wider than the springform.

For each pie, place a circle of dough in the center of the springform and gently shape dough to reach up the sides of the pan, being careful to patch any holes with dough scraps. Once each pie bottom is formed, let them rest in the freezer until you're ready to fill them.

Roll out the second round of pastry to about 1/8" thickness. Cut four circles, each roughly 4.5 inches across. You'll have leftover dough which you can use to decorate your pies (or let your kiddo play with like I did).

Fill each springform, being sure to evenly distribute the liquid.

Using a sharp knife or very small cookie cutter, cut a few small openings in your top crust to allow steam to vent out. Gently lay each crust onto a filled pie, pressing down the edges to meet the bottom crust.

Whisk the egg yolk and water together.

Brush the top of each crust gently with the egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Before removing from the springform, run a small knife around each edge. Use a thin spatula to lift each pie onto its serving plate. If you're feelin' fancy, garnish with a sprig of parsley or thyme.

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In case you are wondering how deep I plumb the depths of dorkery, no, I do not have a food or craft-based tribute to the Ides of March planned for 3.15. Yet.

Article originally appeared on Various and Sundry Things (http://cottage-industrialist.com/).
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