Tag Archives: pie birds

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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