Music: Piggies – The Beatles
Last year around this time Cia, Melissa and I went to The Jakewalk in Carroll Gardens for dinner and drinks. Known for its extensive collection of “spirits and brown stuff”, we wanted to check it out. What we didn’t expect was a fabulous, cozy dinner of duck rillettes, fondue and chicken pot pie. Recently, James and I went back for our friend Heather’s birthday party and sadly, the chicken pot pie was not on the menu. I had such a hankering for it I decided to recreate it at home. I am pretty certain The Jakewalk didn’t use milk in theirs, which was what made it really unique.
I used The Big Book of Casseroles (Chronicle Books publishes the best books, especially cookbooks!) as the foundation for the meal but put my own twist on it (translation: I changed a lot of stuff). I believe that recipes are meant to be broken and that your taste buds and culinary intuition should guide you in the kitchen. For instance their recipe calls for celery. I don’t like the taste of cooked celery so I left it out. Also, you don’t have to use fresh herbs but if you use dried herbs, cut the amount in half (because they get more potent when dried). I will show you what I did but I implore you to make it your own – and if you changed things, let me know! I’d love to hear about it.
This is a time consuming recipe but really good and hearty and perfect for a cozy fall meal. In the end I caved and used a LITTLE bit of milk to thicken it up…but next time I plan to cut it out entirely. It really didn’t need it.
What you’ll need:
A 10-inch pie plate, 2 chicken breasts (cubed into 2 inch pieces), 3 cups of chicken stock, 1 small yellow onion (3/4 of it chopped, 1/4 whole), 2 cloves of garlic, 2 carrots thinly sliced, box of mushrooms quartered, 1 shallot minced, a splash of vermouth (if you don’t have it its ok, its just for taste), 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 cup of frozen peas, 1 cup of frozen sweet corn, 3 tablespoons of butter, salt, pepper, ¼ cup of fresh parsley, 3 springs of fresh rosemary, 3 fresh springs of thyme, nutmeg (to taste, I used about ¼ teaspoon because James is really sensitive to it, some people might use more) and ½ cup of milk., 1 egg beaten.
For the crust: 1 1/4 cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 3 tablespoons of vegetable shortening (chilled), 6 tablespoons of butter (chilled), 2-3 tablespoons of ice water (or 2 tablespoons of iced water and 1 tablespoon of iced vodka – a trick my parents taught me, more on it later).
Start with the pie crust. Pie crust is tricky! If you have your own recipe, use it. If not this one was very tasty.
- In food processor add 1¼ cups of flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, 6 tablespoons of chilled butter cut into small pieces and 3 tablespoons of chilled vegetable shortening (Crisco).
- Pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal (about 40 pulses).
- With the motor running slowly add ice cold water one tablespoon at a time, until dough sticks together and forms a small ball. You can replace one tablespoon of water with one tablespoon of vodka if you have it. It burns off in the oven and makes the dough flakier.
- Remove the dough from food processor and create a ball in your hands. Flatten into a 6-inch disk. Wrap with wax paper and chill while you cook the rest of the pie.
- Next, poach the chicken. Put chicken cubes in a saucepan. Add ½ cup of water and then cover the chicken with chicken stock (probably around three cups – use your eyes!). Add one smashed clove of garlic, 1/4 of a piece of onion, one sprig of parsley, rosemary and thyme each and 7 or 8 black peppercorns (if you don’t’ have peppercorns ½ teaspoon of regular ground pepper will do).
- Bring to a boil over high heat and immediately reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes until chicken turns white.
- Remove chicken from liquid to cool. Strain the broth and keep to the side in a separate container (you’ll use it later). You will yield about two cups of broth.
- Preheat over to 350 degrees.
- Peel and slice carrots. Chop the rest of the onion. Quarter mushrooms. Slice shallots. Chop one clove of garlic. Chop 2 sprigs of rosemary. Remove 2 sprigs thyme from stalk. Chop ¼ cup of parsley.
- In saucepan over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add shallots and cook for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add a splash of vermouth and finish cooking for 2 minutes. Put aside in a small container.
- In same saucepan, over medium heat, add carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme and ½ cup of broth. Cover and cook for 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. When finished, drain vegetables of remaining liquid.
- In 10 inch pie plate, add chicken, vegetables, 1 cup of corn and 1 cup of peas (don’t worry that they are frozen – they will cook in the oven. When they start frozen it prevents mushy peas – no one likes mushy peas).
- In the same saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add 3 tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper and stir with whisk until bubbly. Add remaining chicken stock (about 1 ½ cups) and ½ cup of milk (if you want to use it). Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Add parsley and nutmeg.
- Pour mixture over vegetables in pie plate and mix well.
- Remove crust dough from refrigerator.
- Beat one egg with a tiny bit of water.
- On lightly floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll dough to form a circle that is two inches larger than pie plate.
- Place pie crust over vegetables and chicken on pie plate. (now your dough may fall apart, in which case, stop with the flour. If it falls to pieces just cover the vegetables and chicken with pieces of pie crust – it will cook together in the oven – it might not look perfect but it will still taste amazing).
- Fold edges under and flute. (I had no idea how to do that and made James do it. It looked like he just pinched around the edges of the dough near the edge of the pie plate. It worked…)
- Brush egg on top of crust until covered (you won’t use all the egg).
- Make slits in the crust to let steam pass through in the oven.
- Bake for 45 until pastry is golden brown on top and vegetables are bubbly.
We had our friend Brian over for dinner and we ate the entire thing. Hence the song….