Friday Pie Day 1: Chicken Pot Pie – Success!

Happy Dance!!  Friday Pie Day number 1 was officially a success!  I’m just going to start right away with this picture:

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Look at that crust!!!  If my only success was creating this amazing crust I would have been happy. Actually, that’s a lie. The filling for this pie took me about 6 hours, if the filling had been bad, I would have cried. But the crust would have been almost enough, that’s how good it was.

I decided to go with a savory pie because all the pies I have failed on previously have been sweet pies. Plus, pie for dinner is awesome.

First of all, let me say this:

To anyone who decides to make this pie: If you want to eat this pie around six or seven then start this pie at 9 in the morning. Better yet, start it the day before. There were so many steps in the making of this pie that even though I started at 2:30 it wasn’t ready to eat until 8:30, and even then I put the filling in warm when the recipe said it should be chilled (causing a mini but manageable panic attack: What If This Ruins The Whole Pie!!! But it didn’t, it was fine.) Or, just don’t make your own stock, that will cut your time down about 2 hours and the pie will only a tiny bit less awesome.

*Edit* One of my readers (sister) said that even with the two hours cut off 4 hours was still a daunting amount of time for a pie. I agree. And in fact I think that now that I have made it once, if I were to make it again and use a pre-made stock it would take closer to 1.5-2 hours, and that includes the 45 minute bake time. I took an extra long time the first time because I was trying to get it perfect and there were lots of things involved that I had never done before. Either way, if it had been bad, I would have cried *End Edit*

This time around I made the pie exactly as the recipe instructed (besides that “cool the filling” part, but let’s just pretend that it didn’t need to be that cold. I did let it sit in the fridge for 6 minutes while the oven heated up after all.)

So here we go. I don’t think I’m allowed to just write out the exact recipe I used from How to Build A Better Pie by Millicent Souris, (and it was super confusing the way she wrote it anyway, so I wouldn’t even want to) but many of the steps were pretty much classic things you can find simply by googling – For example googling “how to make chicken stock” gives This Recipe as a top result, which is very similar to the one I used. I’m sure any tried and true stock recipe would work.

The first thing I did was make the crust, because it needed to chill anyway – the colder the better. I did an all butter crust and it was delicious. It was a basic 2 crust recipe but it had 3 teaspoons kosher salt! I’ve never seen a recipe with that much salt. It was delicious and perfect for this savory pie, but next time I might only use 2.

But the real difference between this amazing crust and my usual crappy crusts (I think) came from how she explained to mix the ingredients. Well, Mix is probably the wrong word, more like “push” and “smash”.

CRUST

Mix the dry ingredients together with your hands.

Cut the COLD butter into 1/4 inch cubes.

Put the cubes in the dry ingredients and toss together gently with your fingers. 

Once they are coated in dry ingredients use your fingers to go around and smash the little cubes. Don’t totally demolish them, just smash them. And try to keep them cool, so don’t hold them for too long or handle them too much.

This is what my dough looked like before I added the water, see all the little butter balls still in there?

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Once you’ve smashed all the butter balls pour half the water (1/4 c) around the edge of the bowl and then use a fork to PUSH ingredients into the middle from the outsides. Just keep pushing, not mixing, not stirring, pushing. Add the rest of the water (1/4 c) and push the together again.

With crusts the less you touch and work the dough the flakier and better the crust will be in the end – touch it just enough to get the ingredients to stick together – no more than that!

Then add water by the teaspoon until it holds together and is not sticky but is not too dry. (haha, so simple right?) Sometimes this might just mean having wet fingers when you form your crust balls, that could be all the extra water it needs.

There should be big chunks of butter in your crust dough. Check mine out:

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All balled up and ready to go in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Next I made a chicken stock from an almost 5 pound chicken and all the usual chicken stock veggies: carrot, celery, onion.

imageVeggies

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At this point I had taken the chicken out, pulled off the meat, and put the carcass back in. After I strained this, it was a delicious stock.

I then got to work on the gravy (a “dirty blond” rue of 6 T butter and 6 T flour, heavy cream, white wine, and stock)

Gave the rough chop veggies their initial stove top cook (onions first, then add the carrots, celery, potato, and peas until soft/warm)

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When the gravy was nice and thick I add all the veggies, chicken, and gravy together. -Tada! the insides are done!

Roll out the dough (roll 1, turn the dough 1/4 circle, roll 1, turn 1/4 until flat – hardly even push down, just roll over the top – remember, the less it is touched and pushed around the better) Then lay it in the pan. Place pie bird (This is the first time I’ve used one. I guess it helps release the steam, I think it’s supposed to make the bottom crust crisp. My bottom crust was perfect so I guess it worked! Also, pie birds are totally adorable)

imageCheck out those butter blobs! That sure made one delicious, flakey crust!

Add filling, put on top crust, image

Pinch the crusts together, cut slits in the top crust, and put in the oven for 45 minutes. Put some tin foil under, mine dripped and smoked.

Then take out the amazing pie full of delicousness and love and eat it! Yuuuum!

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It was perfect. I will definitely make this pie again although next time I will use a pre-made stock which will make it way more manageable time wise.

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Sorry I didn’t get a great picture of it cut open, we were so hungry and ready to start eating!

Over all I could not be more happy with the way this pie turned out. So much so that I’m already anxious for next Friday to get here! More Pie! More Pie!

I Love Friday Pie Day!!  You should do it too and tell us your pie making stories.

Next week will be a sweet pie! See you then.

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