All-American Chicken Pot Pie
Source of Recipe
From "Crazy for Casseroles" by James Villas
"What makes this classic chicken pot pie different from most others is the layer of pastry strips within the pie itself, a technique that not only yields a firmer pie but provides an interesting contrast between the soft interior pastry and the crispy top crust. Don't make this pie unless you're willing to make the pastry from scratch—actually a very simple procedure. To give the pie a slightly racy and more modern flavor, think about adding about ½ cup of sliced or chopped fresh shiitake or cep mushrooms to the first layer of carrots and peas."
List of Ingredients
◦ One 3 ½-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
◦ 1 medium-size onion quartered
◦ 2 celery ribs (leaves included), each broken into 3 pieces
◦ Salt and black pepper to taste
◦ 2 cups all-purpose flour
◦ ⅔ cup vegetable shortening
◦ ¼ cup ice water
◦ 2 medium-size carrots, scraped, cut into thin rounds, blanched for 5 minutes in boiling water, and drained
◦ 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen green peas
◦ 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Place the chicken pieces in a large pot, add the onion and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Add enough water to cover, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, bone, cut the meat into bite-size pieces, and set aside. Strain the broth into a bowl and set aside.
While the chicken is cooking, combine the flour and ½ teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl, then cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter or two knives till the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stirring with a spoon, gradually add the ice water till a ball of dough is formed. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half the dough about ⅛ inch thick and line the bottom and sides of a greased 1 ½-quart casserole with it, tucking the crust into the corners. Roll out the remaining dough about ⅛ inch thick and cut half of it into 1-inch-wide strips, reserving the remainder for the top of the pie.
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Spread a piece of heavy aluminum foil over the bottom rack in the oven to catch any drips.
Arrange half the chicken pieces over the bottom of the casserole, half the carrots and peas over the chicken, and top with the pastry strips. Arrange the remaining chicken, carrots, and peas on top of the strips, season with salt and pepper, and pour in enough reserved chicken broth to almost cover the top layer.
Fit the remaining pastry over the top of the pie, pressing down the edges and trimming off the excess. Brush the top with the melted butter, cut a couple of vent holes in the pastry with a knife, and bake till the top is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.
Makes 6 servings