How to Bake Chicken Pie, a Favorite Comfort Food
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As summer quickly turns into fall, our cooking choices are starting to change. Hearty comfort foods too hot for summer are beginning to spruce up kitchens and restaurants again. A classic example is the chicken pie. The best of both worlds, Chicken Pie combines a crispy batter with a rich chicken stew. While chicken pie made from scratch takes a long time to prepare, this American comfort food classic is well worth it.
Tips and tricks
A key tip to remember when making a pie crust is to use chilled butter. This step is critical for a flaky crust. If the butter is too hot when added to the flour, it will mix too well, ensuring a hard, hard crust. To avoid this, keep the butter cool until the last moment before mixing it with the flour. If you’re short on time, a good quality store-bought pie shell will work as well.
For the best chicken garnish, roast a whole chicken first. This extra step, although long, will ensure a more flavorful and complex chicken filling. To roast a whole chicken, season the bird with your choice of herbs and spices (try to match the roasting flavor profile with the garnish used later) and cook. When the chicken has cooled, simply peel the meat off the bone and set aside. Keep the bones – they can be used to make a tasty chicken soup or broth for your chicken pie filling.
Chicken pie is a great freezer. Not only will the chicken filling freeze well, a whole pie will keep well in the freezer. Cooks can also choose to make smaller pies and freeze them for future quick meals. Just take out and put in the oven for a hassle-free meal. Leftover chicken broth should also be frozen. A useful tip is to freeze leftover broth in ice cube trays, especially if the broth is particularly rich. These bouillon cubes can be extracted and used for easy cooking.
Born and raised in the UK, Executive Chef Anand Sastry has decades of experience at some of the best restaurants in the world, including the three Michelin star Troisgros in France and Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin in New York. He also worked as a private chef with King Hussein of Jordan. At Highway Restaurant & Bar and Main Street Tavern, the food is inspired by Sastry’s farm-to-table education.
For the basic pie crust:
- 2.5 cups bleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- .5 cup vegetable shortening
- 1.5 sticks of butter
- 4 tablespoons of ice water
- 1 egg white
- Place the flour, salt and vegetable shortening sugar in a blender. Mix for a few minutes.
- Then add the chopped chilled butter and ice water mixture until it forms a paste.
- Let cool for 4 hours
- 5 tablespoons of chicken fat
- 1 tablespoon of margarine
- A whole chicken, roasted and torn into pieces
- 1.25 cups of flour
- 2 quarts of strong chicken broth
- 4 carrots
- 5 stalks of celery
- 1 onion
- 1 leek
- 1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley
- Salt, white pepper
- Roughly chop the vegetables and place them in the chicken broth. Cook until tender. Drain the vegetables, keeping the broth.
- Put the chicken fat and the margarine in a saucepan and turn on the heat. Add the flour until the mixture begins to form crumbs. Very slowly, add the hot broth, little by little, until it becomes a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, put the chicken pieces and the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Then add the hot sauce until everything binds together. Reserve in the fridge.
- On a floured table, roll the dough into a circle (depending on the size of the pie pan you have) about 1/4 inch thick. Place in a pie dish. Then add the garnish. Roll out the top crust in the same way as the bottom crust.
- Cut and trim the sides of the excess crust. Brush the top with egg white and place in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Bake at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. Then lower to 350 degrees and cook for another 20 minutes. When the crust is golden, take out and let cool. Serve when you are ready.