About this blog...

Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Food and the festivities surrounding its arrival to the table has always been a focal point in our family. For many years I have been amassing the cookbooks, recipe cards, cooking journals, diaries, manuscripts and clipping files of our once extensive family.

Personally, I’ve been professionally involved with food for over 40 years in numerous and varied culinary capacities across the country so I also have the collected stories, as well as current and on-going food-related experiences from my own life I’d like to share.

My idea has long been that someday I would bring all of this marvelous raw material together into a culinary journey through our family’s heritage. This journal is the beginnings of that journey.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Tonight's dinner was Chicken Pot Pie and it really was "as easy as pie".
A couple of days ago I thawed a package of 4 each skinless chicken legs and thighs (from our own ranch-raised and butchered Cornish-Rock cross birds) and poached them until tender in a well-seasoned chicken stock. When done, I took them out of the stock to cool, strained the stock and got it chilled.  When the meat was cool enough to work with I carefully separated it from the bones, cartilage  and sinew and chilled it too.
Today I peeled and cut up about 6 carrots, an onion, 5 celery ribs and a dozen medium- large mushrooms and poached them all in the reserved chicken stock until almost tender.  While they cooked I picked over the chicken meat once more and cut it into small bite-sized pieces.
When done, I removed the vegetables from the stock then thickened the stock with a blonde roux, adding a little chopped parsley, leaf thyme, ground black pepper and adjusting the salt.  When thickened sufficiently I added back in the veggies and chicken and brought, once more, to a light boil then removed it from the stove.
While the veggies and stock were cooking I made a rich lard pie dough.  My recipe is:
Rich Lard Pie Dough
4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
12 oz cool, firm lard (home rendered as in my case is best)
4 oz water
1 egg
1 TBS red wine vinegar
1. Combine the flour and salt well.
2. Cut in the lard lightly (I used the paddle on a tabletop mixer with a VERY light touch).
3. Combine the water, egg and vinegar well then add all at once to the flour mixture and combine just until the mixture holds together.
4. Turn out of the bowl and mix lightly with your finger tips to moisten any dry bits, wrap and let rest for at least 15 minutes. Can be refrigerated at this point but I prefer to  work with it at room temperature.

One of the people I was cooking for has bad food allergies to legumes so I ended up making two pot pies.  I removed about 1/3 of the chicken mix to an 8"x2" cake pan then added frozen peas to the remainder, heated it through again, and then moved it into a 10'x2" cake pan.
I then rolled out the dough for lids for the two pies (make them a bit bigger then necessary so you have enough dough to make a nice fluted edge), put them on and cut a few steam vents.  I had some left-over dough so I also rolled out and cut a few decorative pieces for the pies (leaves and such), applied them and washed the whole tops with an egg yolk wash.
Just before dinner I baked the pot pies in a 375F convection oven for about 35 minutes until they were bubbling well and the crusts were done and nicely browned.

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