Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three Tubs of Lard Later . . .

For quite some time, I've been dying to make individual chicken pot pies. I ran across a recipe for them in an amazing cookbook, Silver Service, that I stole from my mom and have been thinking about them ever since. Last night, I combined three different recipes in an attempt to be original and made them from scratch.

Note: this was my first attempt to make pastry, so it was a pretty big deal for me. I got home around 6 p.m., and the combined recipes indicated that the prep and cook time would take about 55 minutes. My pot pies finally came out of the oven at 10 p.m. Exhausted and covered in flour,it was finally over, thank god! I was pretty impressed with myself because the pot pies were delicious, but the whole cooking experience was a bit more laborious that I had anticipated.

Maybe it was the stress of going back and forth between three recipes or the panic that set in when my "slurry" turned out to be more like a soup. The tipping point also could have been when I clogged my food processor with lard during my second attempt at making the crust, or realizing that I had to use my martini shaker as a rolling pin. Needless to say, I won't attempt this dish again for a long time. Luckily, I made two extra pot pies and threw them in the freezer for future indulgence.

I know I promised recipes for the Hallmark holiday, but after Wednesday night's efforts, this Affordable Foodie plans to dine out! If you have the energy to cook on Valentine's Day, check out the specials at your local Fresh Market. The store is offering great deals on lobster tails, beef tenderloin and filet mignon.

Below is my recipe for chicken pot pies. You can make individual servings or a whole pie. Personally, I like to make them in individual ramekins and just add a simple side salad tossed in Dijon vinaigrette to complete the meal.

Hopefully, you will have better luck now that I've recorded my modifications to the recipes. Attempt at your own risk because this can be a challenging recipe. But if you're attentive to the details and not afraid to make a little bit of a mess, it will be delicious - that I promise!

This dish will run you around $30 dollars and serves six.



2-3 pounds chicken breasts (bone in with skin)
1 quart chicken broth
2 cups water

White Sauce (filling)

4 cups chicken broth (reserved from cooking chicken)
1/2 cup All-Purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 cup frozen pearl onions

1 cup carrots, sliced thin
5-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup frozen green peas
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper


2 cups All-Purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 egg
5 tablespoons cold water


Place chicken in a large pot and cover with broth and water. Season broth with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper. Liquid should just barely cover chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. When chicken is cooked, let it cool in broth. Remove meat in chunks from bones. Strain broth and reserve. Bones and skin can be thrown away.

Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and saute the carrots and onions over medium heat until the onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring 4 cups of the reserved cooking liquid from the chicken to a boil. Put 1/2 cup of flour in a medium bowl and slowly add 1/2 cup of hot broth to the flour in the bowl. Whisk these together to create a "slurry," stirring until it's thick and smooth. Add the slurry back to the pot of remaining broth and reduce heat to medium. Stir until thick and smooth (This is the part that gave me some trouble. If the mixture does not thicken, slowly add more flour in small increments to the broth until it reaches the desired consistency). Add half-and-half.

Add sauce to vegetable mixture, stir in chicken and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

To make the crust combine the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles course meal. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk and water. Pour egg yolk mixture over flour mixture. Stir to make a soft dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Using individual ramekins, measure an extra 1/2 inch beyond the bowl for the crust. Cut out the individual crusts and brush egg yolk on the outside rims of the ramekins.

Fill the ramekins with chicken mixture, place crusts on top and pinch the sides to secure the dough (like a tart). Brush the tops of the crusts with egg yolk and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper. Cut four small slits in the top of each pot pie and place in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Serve hot.

Finished Product

Hot steamy goodness

All Done


  1. Oh my... your CPP sounds divine! Do you deliver? xo

  2. Oh my... your CPP sounds divine! Do you deliver? xo