This week I am swooning over a recent home delivery from Restoration Hardware. I love that store in a sort of absurd way. It’s over-the-top expensive, but man do they have some swanky style. Yes, it’s Christmas and I shouldn’t be buying for myself, but hey, it was a gift for the house! Over the recent holiday weekend, they put their Faux Fur line on sale and I simply had to have one of these throws to snuggle up with this winter. I needed it like I need air. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. However, if you’re like me and have no fireplace or wood stove to cozy up with, then I’m sure you can sympathize with my eccentric urge. Our Wolf Faux Fur arrived bound with leather straps, looking all sophisticated and cool. Ms. Keiko attacked the headless fur creature the moment I set it on the couch… she’ll just have to get used to her new fuzzy roommate because mama isn’t kicking her out any time soon!
There, I feel better. Now, let’s talk about how I made a killer chicken pot pie and you can too!
Check out this beautiful filling….
Chunks of chicken and potato, carrots, mushrooms, corn, and peas – all brightly colored and such!
Sunday morning I decided that I had to use up the last of my rendered leaf lard from January. I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve allowed it to hang out that long… you’ll let this one slide too, right?!
Instead of using it to make a dessert pie, I went for an old dinnertime villain: chicken pot pie. It can’t be just me – most of the foods I thought were SO GROSS growing up (some I never even tried), are now in our dinner rotation in one way or another. Some times, all it takes is a different approach and this was one I hadn’t yet attempted.
I recently read somewhere that pie dough should be ugly when you roll it out. Forget striving for that beautifully perfect shell that comes frozen in a Pillsbury box. Ugly going into the oven means tender and delicious coming out of the oven. You should see bits of butter like you do here. If your dough rolls out satiny smooth, then it’s most likely overworked and will come out as tough as leather. This was also the first time I attempted pie dough in the stand mixer, I normally work it by hand. This way was much faster, made less of a mess, and the end result was just perfect – I highly recommend it if you have one.
Chicken Pot Pie
Leaf Lard Butter & Thyme Crust – adapted from Cooks Illustrated
Makes two 12″ pie shells
- 2.5 cups of all purpose unbromated flour
- 12 tbs unsalted butter – cubed and chilled in the freezer for at least 10 minutes
- 8 tbs leaf lard – chilled in the freezer at least 10 minutes (local leaf lard: Terra Firma Farm)
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 1/4 cup vodka – chilled
- 1 tsp dried French thyme
- 2 tbs organic sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
In a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater, stir the flour, sugar, and salt. With the mixer off, add the butter and lard, toss with the dry mix to coat using a fork. Mix on level 2 until the lumps of fats are down to the size of peas.
slowly add the liquids maintaining the same speed until it begins to just form a dough. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and divide into two. Wrap them individually and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Meanwhile, make your filling – (just barely) adapted from FineCooking.com, Makes enough for 2 pies
- 5 Tbs. EVOO
- 2-1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts – seasoned well with fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pkg cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 1 pkg shiitake mushrooms, quartered
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch-thick (1-1/2 cups)
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced – I use a garlic press
- 2 oz. (4 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
- 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour – increase for thicker sauce
- 3 cups lower-salt chicken broth
- 1 cup 2 % milk
- 1-3/4 lb. red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice (5 cups)
- 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh curly parsley
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
- 1-1/2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
Heat 2 tbsp evoo in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat until almost smoking. Working in batches if need be, brown the chicken, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a place where it can cool – bowl, plate, or cutting board with a juice well. Once cool enough to touch, chunk it up into bite size pieces and set aside.
Add another glug (1 tbs) of evoo to the pot and add the mushrooms . Allow these to brown, do not stir. After 2 + minutes, stir using a wooden spoon and allow to brown for another 2 + minutes. Transfer these to the bowl of chicken.
Add another glug of evoo to the pot, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and carrots. Let these cook until the onions become translucent and start to soften. Add the garlic, give it a stir and when the aroma hits you in the face, scoop it all out into the bowl with the chicken and mushrooms.
Reduce the heat to low, add your butter. Once it has all melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth. I prefer a flat whisk for these jobs. Slowly pour in your chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Reduce the heat to low once again and add the potatoes, chicken, & cooked vegetables. When the potatoes and carrots are al dente (about 10 minutes), add the peas, corn, mustard, herbs, and spices. Season with a small palmful of salt and few good cracks of pepper.
Remove from the heat while you prepare the pie dough.
*Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place a cookie sheet on the middle rack.
Flour a work surface, each ball of dough, and a your rolling pin. Individually roll out two 12″ width shells. Remember to flour and flip your dough so it does not stick.
Gently place one over a standard pie dish and lightly press into the bottom and sides, trim the edges even with the rim of the dish.
Add your filling and top with the remaining dough. You can pretty up the edges however you like but be sure that they are sealed together and trimmed.
With a sharp clean knife, cut a criss-cross in the center of your pie as pictured above.
Place the pie in the middle of the cookie sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Pour yourself a glass of a nice white Bordeaux or Sauvignon Blanc, if you haven’t already…
You really cannot beat a lard and butter crust – it makes you feel good on the inside. Tender, flakey, rich, melt-in-your-mouth layers. It’s amazeballs… seriously.
I hope this recipe inspires you to get your hands in some dough!