chicken pot pie

chicken pot pie slice

* Whole chicken roasted
* Vegetables prepared, oiled and roasted
* Pie crust prepared
* Sauce prepared
* Roasted vegetables, chicken bits, uncooked peas, sauce all combined.
* Pie crust rolled top and bottom and chilled
* Pie crust bottom pre-cooked.
* Pie crust bottom filled with combined vegetable/chicken/sauce mixture
* Pie topped and baked.

Ta daaaaaaa.

I could have just bought a chicken pot pie at David's Market but mine is better, I bet. Actually, I would totally trust them.

raw vegetables

roasted vegetables

pie bottom filled with vegetable and chicken mixture

covered chicken pot pie

baked chicken pot pie

First the chicken. This is a David's Market chicken, organic but not free range, marketed as Rosie's, also sold at some Whole Foods. The whole purpose of this was to supersede the recent memory of the grocery chicken in the post below ↓ which wasn't bad, but it wasn't superb either, and to do a comparison test. The broth of the previous one down there ↓ gelatinized loosely, weakly, and incompletely, and I wanted to try again with a better bird. Of course all that didn't stop me from keeping on it until it was entirely gone. There were no internal organs to supplement the broth of this one, and that's a bummer. Why do they do that? Whyyyyyyyy? He cried. This bird was brined, roasted in the usual way, broken apart, then the bones cracked open to expose the marrow and then re-roasted until they had all turned dark brown, which happens rather quickly in the same pot the bird was roasted so it doesn't contribute to cleanup. This time I added aromatics to supplement the bird because this one lacked the liver, gizzard, heart and because the butcher said, "Oh, you gotta," even though it's not my habit, so I cleaned out the crisper of old peppers, broccoli, carrot, and added fresh onion, garlic, celery, and bay leaf, in fact, it was mostly extraneous material over chicken carcass, by weight and by mass.

For the pie:

The vegetables are diced, drizzled and rubbed with olive oil, salted and seasoned, and roasted until done. The peas were left frozen, and the chicken bits stayed cold until this was done.

* celery
* carrots (diced irregularly)
* onion
* garlic (the larger cloves of one whole bulb)
* sweet potato (this is a little bit weird, but I had one, so I used it)
* Yukon gold potatoes (2)

^^^ roasted

* frozen peas
* cold cooked chicken bits

I forgot the sage. Now that was just plain stupid.

Chicken pie was my favorite thing to have whenever I was sick so my mother kindly cooked one, the prepackaged version of course, to hasten good health and as an act of kindness toward a pitiful sick little boy. This kind of meat pie, along with Shepherd's pie, was one of my father's favorite things to make. I think it's a British thing. Dear ol' Dad tried his best to make meat pies but without much good success. Oh, he succeeded alright, he just didn't know how awful they really were. As kids, neither did we. We had no way to know the difference. He used a large bake-proof bowl for his version. An inverted coffee cup supported the top crust. There was no bottom crust. His crusts were terrible, to be frank about it, both my parents used oil for their crusts so they inevitably came out thin and hard like cardboard, as you can imagine. Ground beef, if the pie was beef, come to think of it, they usually were beef. He had no idea what stock is or how to make a sauce. In short, neither one really knew what they were doing. Bless them for trying.

The advantage of roasting vegetables first is that roasting concentrates flavors and pre-shrinks the vegetables so the top crust will not collapse or form an air-filled gap between pie content and crust. Roasting ensures the vegetables are cooked through in the time it takes to bake the crusts. The advantage of pre-cooking the bottom crust first is it helps it from becoming soggy, although it makes it nearly impossible to pinch together top and bottom crusts and it probably isn't necessary. You can brush the bottom crust with egg, bake briefly just enough to set the thin egg layer as a form of waterproofing, then continue the usual way. I think the next time I'll just skip that step and bake the roasted vegetables and both crusts at once and accept a wetter bottom crust.

Sauce was made the customary way with butter and flour roux except with small amount of Madras curry and cayenne pepper included, I don't know, I just cannot help myself when it comes to roux. The liquid portion was chicken broth that didn't have enough time to chill and to gelatinize. I kept adding chicken broth to the thickened roux until the desired viscosity was reached. The mixture thickened further as it cooled so I added a little more broth to the entire mixture, sauce, roasted vegetables, frozen peas and chicken bits, to check the desired viscosity before adding it to the pie. There was about two cups extra roasted vegetables that can be used later in different ways. It's delicious.

Pie crust made with two cups of flour (one cup A/P flour, one cup cake flour), one stick of butter cut into small cubes, and about that same amount of lard, sea salt to the extent I felt necessary, and a trace of sugar because I don't know why, I just did. Ice cold water. The butter, lard, flour, bowl, etc., were all kept chilled throughout. The fat was rubbed in by smashing the chunks in my fingertips and releasing the flattened bits into the flour before body heat could could melt the fat. I've heard of people who chill their hands in cold water before beginning, but that's a level of dedication that I do not have.

The pie is carelessly assembled. For some reason, I like a rustic rough shod unlabored appearance. I used the scraps to decorate the top carelessly because I tasted part of the bottom that broke off and it was delicious, the perfect crust if I may say so, and I didn't want to waste any of it. Hey, that decoration is ART !


Avierra said...

That looks yummy, and you have given me ideas for a meal or two this week. So how did you like how the sweet potato turned out? I bet it was pretty good, especially with the curry powder.

Chip Ahoy said...

Avierra, the sweet potato is wonderful. It was a small one and only 1/3 of the total potato in the mixture. The curry was just about 1/2 teaspoon for a large bowl of vegetables so it wasn't overwhelmingly CURRY! Actually, the cayenne comes through more causing to go off track compared with the rather bland chicken pies I loved as a kid. The best thing, though, is the top crust. It's extremely flaky. I could eat that alone just as a cookie.

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