Roll it and Prick it and Mark it With Me: Chicken Pot Pie

I told you yesterday that I was going to rend a chicken, soak the pieces in buttermilk and fry them up for dinner. Readers, I got lazy. I plunked the bird in the big black skillet, surrounded it with potato chunks and roasted it with some whole garlic cloves. With Darina Allen’s recipe for Buttered Cabbage as the vegetable side dish it made for some cheap and cheerful eating, and I can still taste the garlic, which is fine by me. It saddens me that I’m not the trencher-woman I was twenty years ago — I could have eaten that chicken single-handedly (roast chicken — yum!)  — but I’m not. Neither does he put food away in the volume of meals twenty years ago, so we have half a chicken sitting in the fridge. As we turned off the news last night he said: “I think we should make chicken pot pie tomorrow .” We make a lot of chicken pot pie.

The filling hasn’t gone through many changes over the years: a veloute sauce stirred  with lots of black pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, some shallots, tiny cubes of carrot, potato and a handful of frozen peas. Pick over the bird, chop the good bits not too fine and toss them with the sauce. Done.

It’s the crust I teeter about. Jacques Pepin’s Quick Puff Pastry is always a winner. Here’s an example, baked on a night when Lou was feeling romantic with the garnish:

But , as much fun as I have making puff pastry, I’m feeling too pooped to puff tonight. (Tossed and turned last night — computer probblems — another story with a happy ending.)

The the choices are:
1)My plain old butter/lard pie crust.
2)Delia Smith’s fabulous Flaky Pastry, made by grating frozen butter on the large side of a box grater into cold flour.
3)Make a batch of buttermilk biscuits , roll it out thinnish, and drape the top of the pie with it.

I’m leaning towards the biscuit crust solution, but I need to keep the crust off the filling;I don’t want Chicken and Biscuits or Chicken Cobbler.  Luckily I have a flock of pie birds (and they’re another post) to keep the dough off the filling with their skinny little shoulders.

So, which way would you go? After all this this analysis,  I’m now  leaning towards Chicken and Biscuits. So easy. except… Should I bake it or treat the biscuits like dumplings and cook the dish atop the stove, covered?

Too many choices! My brain hurts. What drama about half a chicken! But that’s how I roll.

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8 Comments

Filed under Collections, Five bucks or fewer, Food, Home

8 responses to “Roll it and Prick it and Mark it With Me: Chicken Pot Pie

  1. Bev

    I vote for chicken and biscuits..in the oven..and Bob’s your Uncle. Need pics too!

  2. Pie Birds!! They are one of the most cunning, charming inventions for the kitchen. Or looking at. Or a What-Not shelf. I cannot think of a more welcome sight, coming in out of a cold night, than to see a golden PYE emerging from the oven, with tiny beaks peeking from the beautiful crust and little moats of the glorious gravy bubbling up.

    You, my Dearie, are a marvel in the kitchen. And what you bring to the table and the page is FAR ahead of the flock.

  3. PS And since you’re one of my dearest friends, to whom I can say ANYTHING—I’m used to Southern guys, and I wonder at which state line the transition begins, from the Good Ole Boys’ method, to the Northern Gentleman’s method of writing his TrueLove’s name in PEAS.

  4. Welcome, Bev! I did plump for the Chix and Bix, had the lens trained on its golden prettiness and — the battery was dead!

    Rachel, Dear, although L. is of course a Northern Boy, his psychic geography really consists of an arc that spans Chicago, Lucca, Tangiers and Mars.

  5. But, Rachel, to your point, I think it’s the Illinois/Missouri line.

  6. erin garnhum

    I think savoury pies are the only things that could turn my head from what otherwise is a strictly cake-based orientation.

    Make your chicken and dumplings on the top of the stove if you please, Maggie, if only in solidarity with those of us who toil without ovens.

  7. Kim Shook

    I’m with Erin – sweet cakes and savoury pies!

  8. absurdoldbird

    Oh good heavens! I had a couple of those blackbirds for pies, too! (Never used them, though).

    4 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie
    when the pie was opened, the birds began to sing
    isn’t this a dainty dish to set before the king…

    hee!
    🙂

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