Golden Poppies our State Wildflower

Sunday, February 21, 2016

CHICKEN POT PIE...The best of old Pioneer/farmhouse cooking..... info and photos

This is one dish that is best made with butter, fresh chicken pieces with skin and bones, and lots of fresh milk & vegetables.

It was Traditionally made with  boiling chickens and full cream milk.
It is very common for American Farmhouse cooking to include milk (which they had from their livestock, rather than stock which should entail killing more of their livestock)..milk or cream is used to make gravy for sausages and for Hotcakes/Biscuits for The traditional Biscuits and gravy breakfasts.

To serve 8 portions:
use 4 chicken legs and 4 chicken breasts, on bone and with skin (skin holds all the flavors)

Cook the  chicken legs first in a little water with onions, celery, sage, carrot and salt and pepper.
When the legs are cooked remove them and allow them to cool to remove the meat, discard the skin and bones.
Gently poach the chicken breasts in the leg stock, until they are just cooked, remove with a slotted spoon.
Allow the stock and chicken to cool.
Remove the meat from the cooked breasts ( discarding the skin and bones) and set aside.
Chill overnight both the cooked chicken meat and the stock.
Next day, remove the fat from the surface of the chicken stock (this can be used for cooking in the same manner as lard, store in fridge in sealed jar).
Bring the stock to a simmer and add 2-3 cups whole milk  (I use almond milk).

Meanwhile melt 2 tbsp butter in a heavy bottomed skillet and saute
 2-3 cups carrots in bite sized pieces
1 cup celery in bite sized pieces
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms

Add 3tbsp all purpose flour and cook to a blond roux.
Add the hot milk/stock gradually stirring to make a thin sauce, (this will thicken as it cooks down).
Add 1/2 cup mined bell pepper (optional)
2 tsp dried sage
2-3 dried bay leaves
salt & pepper 
cook on low simmer for 20 mins, stirring occasionally

Add 3 cups bite sized  waxy potatoes (I used whole fingerling), simmer covered for 25- 35 mins or until the potatoes are cooked through.

With a slotted spoon remove the vegetables from the pan, into a medium sized bowl and continue to simmer the milk/stock, until it coats the back of a spoon, then remove from heat, check seasoning and cool down.

Add 1 cup defrosted frozen peas to the cooked vegetables and all the chicken meat cut into bite sized pieces.
Add 1/2 cup minced parsley (optional) 
Pour over the cooled down cooking liquor.
Pace in containers and cool completely, cover tightly then leave overnight in fridge for flavors to bloom.

Next day place the cooked pie filling (there will be less liquid visible as the chicken & vegetables will have soaked some of it) into greased/buttered pie dishes (I used four 8x3x2inch dishes)


 and top with pastry, milk or egg wash, pierce with tines of a fork, ( I LIKE TO ADD DRIED THYME TO THE TOP OF MY SAVORY PIES, for another level of flavor, this is optional) and bake in 375f oven for 30-45 mins until golden brown.

This is a wonderful comfort dish and made this way, it cannot be beaten.

Serve warm or at room temp. and as it contains all the potatoes and vegetables it is a ONE POT MEAL.

Variations: add whatever vegetables you have on hand; You may add white wine or dry sherry; instead of a pastry cover try mashed yams or mashed potatoes; you may finish the sauce off with single cream, but this is before baking takes place.

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